Paradise Lost - John Milton's Satan; Hero or Not? Essay

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Throughout time, John Milton's Paradise Lost has been studied by many people and comprehended in many different fashions, developing all kinds of new interpretations of the great epic. There have been many different interpretations of this great epic. Milton's purpose in writing the epic was to explain the biblical story of Adam and Eve. Although the epic is similar to the Bible story in many ways, Milton's character structure differs from that of the Bible's version. All through out the epic Milton describes the characters in the way he believes they are. In book II of Paradise Lost, Milton portrays Satan as a rebel who exhibits certain heroic qualities, but who turns out not to be a hero.
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<br>Milton's introduction of Satan shows
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"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.
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<br>There are other speeches of war in the epic that arouse the reader. One of the most significant is after Satan has made a meeting in the new Capitol of Hell, Pandemonium. "To have built Heaven high towers; Nor did he scape \ By all his engines but was headlong sent \ With industrious crew to build in Hell" (Milton 55). Following the rapid building, all the fallen angels gather for their meeting asking shall it be war or peace. "Their rising all at one was as the sound \ Of thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend \ With awful reverence prone, and as a god" (Milton 79). When his followers cheer Satan on, the reader notices how much he likes the attention. This is another sign of how Milton shows the significant role that Satan's pride plays in his decisions. In many different encounters Satan lets his pride interfere with his actions. In doing this, Satan begins to worry only about himself and the opinions his followers hold of him. Satan continues with the speech saying, "Should we again provoke \ Our Stronger, some worse way his wrath may find
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