Milton's Satan Essay

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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…show more content…
Satan’s character embodies the idea of a heroic figure because he questions what he feels to be true, even though his tragic fall is that he becomes easily misguided. The classical description of a hero does not make it easy for readers to compare Satan’s character in Paradise Lost to a heroic figure. The definition of a hero is usually a man, who is essentially good, and faces difficult challenges and successfully overcomes difficulties. Of course, Satan’s true motives also make him less heroic, but in Milton’s poem the definition of a hero is challenged by Satan’s and by God’s character as well. In Susan Henthorne’s article on Paradise Lost she states, “The characteristics of God and Satan are problematic,” in that “God can seem as tyrannical and cruel...” and “Satan with his fallen nature, is easier to understand” (Enthrone). The traditional definition of a hero contradicts God’s characteristics in that they appear anti-heroic. Milton’s God is portrayed as a powerful ruler who bestows his blessings to those who follow him and eternal damnation to those who do not. When Satan questions God’s will Satan is thrown out of heaven and this act shows that God is capable vengeful anger. God’s unfriendly, distance, and wrathful characteristics makes Satan’s character even more appealing, seen as a heroic figure, and readers
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