Essay about The Role of Satan in Dante's Inferno and Specifically in Paradise Lost

Essay about The Role of Satan in Dante's Inferno and Specifically in Paradise Lost

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The source of all evil, a terrifying entity, and the adversary of God in an eternal war for the souls of mankind, Satan is often put forward as a powerful “other,” having little in common with those he tempts and torments. For example, in Dante’s Inferno, Satan is massive, strong and beast-like, chained like Cerberus in Hell for the punishment of mankind, chewing on the bodies of history’s greatest traitors like a vicious dog. Milton's relatable, human-like Satan is on the other end of the spectrum. He is depicted as the underdog, one who must overcome tremendous obstacles, causing the reader to see him as a tragic hero and to feel sympathy for the fallen angel. Satan soon begins a transformation of both his mind and physical appearance, not only making his true nature apparent to the reader, but also causing the reader to realize that he or she may have more in common with Satan than previously thought.
Paradise Lost opens in media res: Satan is in a dire situation. He has been, by the command of God, driven out of Heaven with his legion of Angels into the great Deep of Hell, a place “in utter darkness. . . As far removed from God and light of Heaven as from the centre thrice to the utmost pole.” (I.70-75). Satan's desire to rebel against his creator stems from his unwillingness to be suppressed by God and his Son, claiming that angels are "self-begot, self-raised" (5.860) and thereby denying God's authority over them as their creator (Singh). In Book I, Milton portrays Satan as a strong, imposing figure with great abilities as a leader and public statesmen. These persuasive powers are evident throughout the book. Not only is Satan cunning and deceptive, but he is also able to rally the angels to continue in the rebellion after ...


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...ames. Milton Criticism: Selections from Four Centuries. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1951. Print.
Samuel, Irene. Dante and Milton: Commedia and Paradise Lost. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1966. 112. Print.
Singh, Deepak. "English Literature: Satan in Paradise Lost: Milton." Literarism: The Republic of Letters. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.
SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Paradise Lost.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2003. Web. 9 Apr. 2014.
Treviño Benet, Diana. "Adam's Evil Conscience And Satan's Surrogate Fall." Milton Quarterly 39.1 (2005): 2-15. Academic Search Premier. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.
Wikipedia contributors. "Serpent (symbolism)." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 9 Apr. 2014. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.
Zeng, Nicholas. "The Characters of Paradise Lost" darkness visible. Christ's College, n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2014.



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