Satan as a Hero Essay

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John Milton’s Paradise Lost is an epic poem that describes the fall of Satan and the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. Satan is the protagonist of Paradise Lost and has several characteristics in which readers may identify with him. Throughout the poem, Satan is not only a tragic hero but also the key character that drives the plot and portrays many flawed human qualities. As an angel fallen from the high esteem of God and a possessor of hubris that leads to his downfall, he represents a tragic hero but also a character in which readers may identify with. 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…show more content…
Satan is so high in his own esteem; he cannot bear to be a servant and must be a leader, as he says in Book I, “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n” (line 263). Satan is indeed “Hurled headlong flaming from th’ethereal sky” (Book I, line 45) and into Hell where he will live in fire. But as a leader, and a true protagonist, Satan chooses to accept his situation and rise as a hero for the pack of fallen angels he has led from Heaven. Even if God is his enemy, at least he is not serving anyone. He possesses his own heaven now, though not joyful and happy as the heaven he was just expelled from, “Farewell happy fields/Where joy for ever dwells: hail horrors, hail/Infernal world, …/ Receive thy new possessor” (Book I, lines 249-253). Satan makes Hell his Heaven with his mind, as he says, “The mind is its own place, and in itself/Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n” (Book I, lines 254-255). Satan acknowledges that he has made a Hell of his previous Heaven, but he also uses that reasoning to make Hell into his own Heaven. His anti-heroic qualities are apparent, though, when he tells his followers in Book I, “To do aught good never will be our task/ But ever to do ill our soul delight” (lines 159-160). It cannot be forgotten that Satan is evil by his creation and through his free will. God created Satan with all of his imperfections but makes it clear that he had a choice by

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