Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost is a complex character meant to be the evil figure in the epic poem. Whenever possible Satan attempts to undermine God and the Son of God who is the true hero of the story. Throughout the story Milton tells the readers that Satan is an evil character, he is meant not to have any redeeming qualities, and to be shown completely as an unsympathetic figure. Satan’s greatest sins are pride and vanity in thinking he can overthrow God, and in the early part of the poem he is portrayed as selfish while in Heaven where all of God’s angels are loved and happy. Satan’s journey starts out as a fallen angel with great stature, has the ability to reason and argue, but by Book X the anguish and pain he goes through is
In addition, here, as throughout much the poem, Satan continues to hedge the other side of the argument, insisting that he isn't forced to do evil by opposing God, but that "to do ill our sole delight" (160). This belief that he has a choice in the matter is tied up in the misconception that he was, and continues to be, equal to God, as "reason hath equall'd" (248) them. Quite to the contrary, Milton makes it clear that "the will And high permission of all-ruling Heaven Left him at large to his own dark designs" (211-3). And it is only Satan's perverted sense of reason that convinces him that "The mind is its own place, and in itself Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n" (254-5). He believes that his reason and contemplation will help him discover "How overcome this dire Calamity" (189), or failing that, change his will such that it fits his current circumstance. This is the classic method of the delusional and disenfranchised, holding out hope for change, but at the same time putting forth the belief that the current situation can actually be beneficial. The sophistry has shown through Satan's speech, as he declares that there is no way for God to beat him, in his mind, when we know he is already defeated.
Satan was unwilling to back down, no matter how great God’s power. This mission stands out as an element of the epic hero. In almost all epics written the hero has to stifle past guarded boundaries in order to complete goals. Satan’s bravery in trying to learn answers concerning his existence in heaven and his damnation to Hell is noble. Determination to derive truth is an admirable quality. Though his bitterness creates negative characteristics, his core purpose is not entirely blasphemous. He considers all that is placed before him and says in book 1, “Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven” (263). He knows that Hell is a place of doom and torture, but he is committed to living there with dignity and hopes to eventually rise above the creator and gain back what he feels he is entitled to as a living being. This acceptance of his conditions and determination to overcome makes him the underdog that an audience cannot help but root for. Everyone knows what it’s like to be in dark place with no visible escape. People want to be able to relate to a character that remains hopeful. In this sense Satan seems very heroic and critics have even gone as far as interpreting God as the villain.
The initial connotation of the word daemon brings about thoughts of demons, making mirrored parallels between the characters of Satan in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, and the daemon in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein legitimate; however, further analysis of the word daemon links itself to Ancient Greeks. They believed a daemon was a being trapped somewhere between being considered a god and a human, or as a fallen hero. Although Milton’s novel sympathizes with Satan as a character, it still acknowledges the fall of Satan for disobeying God and attempting to overthrow him. The characters of the daemon and Satan are characterized as being sympathetic and complex beings, still capable of partaking in evil actions.
“O Hell!” Satan’s opening exclamation of frustration immediately alerts readers to Satan’s state of mind. As Satan gazes on Adam and Eve, he is struck by their blissful state, which sends him into a spiral of confusion as he slightly reconsiders his plan to destroy them. To himself, Satan addresses the pair; he begins regretful and with pity for Adam and Eve. He later shifts in tone to vengeful, envious, and angry. Further exemplifying Satan’s contrasting attitudes, Milton uses antonymous words of emotion throughout the passage. By the end of passage, Milton solidifies Satan’s hardening of heart and ends the struggle that has been festering inside Satan since his first act of rebellion against God. Milton successfully uses both the shift in tone and the emotional diction to reveal Satan’s stormy internal conflict.
Satan's pride further constrains him. Because he is able to prove his freedom via dissent, and because he has ignored the fact that his free will comes from God, Satan thinks (or at least tells the angels before his own fall) that all heavenly beings including God are "Equally free" (5.792). Focused on his own freedom, Satan cannot understand that God has even more freedom than he. When confronted with the hegemonic power of the Son, then, Satan believes that "new Laws" have been imposed, that God has changed the rules (5.679-80). But this is not a new constraint; it is merely a new formulation of the Godhead.
Overall I think in the poem “Paradise Lost” Satan’s character was meant to be more attractive to the readers so they would also be seduced by his ways. His character was meant to be more liked then he usually is in things such as the Bible. He was not necessarily meant to be looked at as the hero, but he was described in such a way that it tempted the readers to like him. Just like Satan lured people in and made them do the wrong things Milton lured in his readers to like Satan. He did such a great job that I felt sorry for Satan. But he also made us see everything from Satan view. Which basically
John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost, has been the subject of criticism and interpretation through many years; these interpretations concur in that Adam and Eve are the sufferers of the poem, and it is their blight to lose Paradise because of their disobedience; however, their exile is merely a plight brought by Satan, and it is he who suffers exile before any others. Satan changes from Book I of the poem to Book XII; his introduction is heroic and grand, appearing as a hero rebelling against an unjust God. But by the finalization of Milton’s poem, Satan is a burnt shell of himself and, though ruler of Pandemonium, he sits in a throne in the lowest pit from God’s light. Satan’s exile brings forth the salvation of mankind and his own regressive transformation; tying in with the theme of disobedience, Satan’s exile gives
Satan encourages his followers and reminds them of their original cause. He shows great leadership skills by re-emphasizing their ideas that at least when they are reigning in Hell, G-d doesn't interfere, and although it is Hell it is still worth ruling rather than serving in Heaven. Satan is dwelling on his power which could be seen as his tragic flaw. He is allowing his pride and ego to surface by glorifying Hell (calling it "profoundest") and declaring himself in possession of Hell. He starts to think of the idea of Heaven and Hell as a mindset. He starts to believe that the mind is what creates a place as Heaven and a place as Hell. Satan feels as though Heaven is Hell because he must serve G-d there, but in Hell, he has a true Heaven because he is served and worshipped. This could be determined as his tragic flaw.
In Milton’s Paradise Lost, surely we have come to ponder upon the makeup of Satan’s attractable character—his rebellious, seductive, almost “bad-ass” attitude—a case of admirable evil. But let us not forget his ambition, his strive to weld the image of God. We have seen many moments throughout where we get Satan’s ground for imitating the image of God: “…In imitation of that Mount whereon / Messiah was declar’d…” (V 764-65). But why does Satan do this? What is it in Satan that causes him to “look up” to God? Is God a tyrant yet a role model to Satan? I propose that Satan’s drive is something more than just an act of pretending; maybe, it is rather a means of trying to grasp what he has been taken away from him. Or, we can say that Satan was more. Perhaps he came to existence not in the mold of angel, but as a divine tool. There must be a reason as to: why Satan was considered God’s “first and favorite angel”? This seems to suggest that Satan is, originally, at some level of divinity; an experiment of God’s that was put to the test (or is a test)—a divine prototype.
When a person hears Satan, a streak of fear, and the thought of evil arises. People fear Satan, and think of him as evil, but in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, he displays a thought of the Father being the evil being, and Satan a tragic hero. In Paradise Lost, Book 1 and 2, the minor areas where God is shown, He is displayed as hypocritical. He contradicts himself by creating the humans to be of free will, but when Satan displays free will, he is shunned. Satan could be described in many terms, and by many people, but all can be disputed. According to my sources, Satan is displayed as the hero, while God is the evil deity, and Milton was wrong for writing Him as so. In this essay, I will show my thoughts on the subject of Satan as an evil
"In the forefront of the battle, where we expect him, is Milton's Satan, the great rebel of Paradise Lost" (Hamilton 7). Hamilton also introduces the idea of an underdog, describing Satan as a person fighting against an inferior power, with extreme odds against a victory for his side (14). In the scenes around the battle in heaven, Milton shows how Satan is viewed as a leader by the other fallen angels.
Following the standards of classic tragic heroes, Satan is a determined leader with an extreme amount of hubris. He knows that God is the most powerful being and yet he still
While many arguments can be made to defend Satan as the hero of this story, his power clearly declines throughout the poem. In the end, he does not achieve his goal. Satan is “bitter, but also acknowledges the reality of his circumstances” (Smith). We see Satan reach his peak, then his power gently declines by the end of the story. Although Satan is powerful and persevering, he is no match for God. We begin to see more of his flaws. Satan is undoubtedly charismatic and persuasive in his speeches, as well as a powerful military leader, yet he seems to be somewhat hypocritical as well. For example, when we are first introduced to Satan, he tells his followers not to be afraid, yet he is afraid himself. Some might view this as Satan being brave, but this could also be viewed as him being deceptive, which illustrates how he
Because of the strict rule of God in this situation, Satan's rebellion is made to seem heroic. He is standing up against the rule of a tyrant, and helping and encouraging others to do the same. Part of the reason Satan in considered such a good leader in this story is because of his ability to persuade his followers through his