Rhetorical Analysis Of John Milton 's ' Paradise Lost ' Essay

Rhetorical Analysis Of John Milton 's ' Paradise Lost ' Essay

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In writing an epic, Milton had a daunting task ahead of him as he looked to transform Satan, a historical character in the Christian bible, into what seemingly is the epic hero of his renowned literary work, Paradise Lost. Throughout this process, Satan is humanized into a character that has his ups but also downs, and Milton’s use of literary techniques let us eventually realize how evil Satan is despite the sympathy readers may have for this tragic figure. Ultimately, not only does Satan grow more evil in the epic, the close interaction we get of Satan’s character allows us to see his wavering mind before being completely submerged by evil.

As the epic begins in Book 1, the Fallen Angels are seen banished to hell after failing to take control of heaven from God. Shortly after, Satan, the leader, was introduced and instead of appearing as deflated, Satan speaks inspirationally and charismatically to his fallen angels for why they should not lose hope. “All is not lost; the unconquerable will, And study of revenge, immortal hate. And courage never to submit or yield: And what is else not to be overcome? (I, 106-109)” One could portray Satan’s behavior as almost heroic as he expresses his unwillingness and displeasure to listen to the orders of God and his son while claiming why they should not succumb to the angels who are “self-begot,[and] self-raised” (V,860). Despite the Fallen Angel’s dire state, Satan is still able to express the positives from the negatives truly exemplifying the definition of a leader as he stated to his army, "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven" (I, 263). Furthermore, Satan was not just talk, his capacity for action meant that he was unhindered by failure and that he was willing at all cost ...


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...t certain that Satan had forever sealed up his fate of ever rejoining god. By the end, Satan had officially become evil.
Sometimes it is very difficult to differentiate between evil and good as the two can be very similar depending on the angle in which we look at it. Satan would be the ideal case of how easy it is to slip from one side to the other as evident of how his character transforms before and after the fall. He turns from a confident and inspirational leader into an indecisive individual, ultimately into an irritated, annoyed and sinful character. He abandons his old life while creating this new mirage where he believes he can fulfill his dream by destroying God’s future ideas. All in all, Satan does turn more evil throughout the epic but it is also how Satan is stuck in such a lost state of revenge that transforms him from a heroic to a tragic character.

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