Satan: the True Hero of Paradise Lost

1635 WordsOct 8, 19997 Pages
The argument over who is the true protagonist of Paradise Lost, has been brewing for centuries. One would gather that Milton, a Puritan, would have no problem casting God as the hero, and Satan as the antagonist. But looking back in history, Milton saw that most epic heroes had conflicts that prevented them from accomplishing their goals. God and his Son have no conflict, and Adam's story doesn't really begin until the Fall of Man. Therefore, Milton was forced to select Satan as the hero of Paradise Lost because he adheres to the guidelines of epic poetry set by Homer, Vergil and others. There many examples of how Milton uses and edits the tradition of these previous epics in the formation of the Devil as a hero. One of the most basic…show more content…
But not by will or valor could he save them…(1-10)" Odysseus' obstacles can be traced back to a mistake he made when he blinded Polyphemos and let his pride get the best of him, announcing to the Cyclops his real name. This allowed Poseidon to enact Polyphemos' wrath on Odysseus, vowing that he Garcia 5 would never see his home again. But Odysseus does conquer those obstacles and finally makes it home. Satan can be said to have the same flaw as Odysseus. He, in part, is the cause of his own demise. Had Satan served God willfully, the war never would have raged in Heaven, and Satan and his Army never would've been thrown in the fiery pits of Hell. However, without that action Satan would not be a hero. His being in Hell leads to him realize his purpose, to corrupt the new type of being God has created on Earth. Satan's journey can be said to be some of Milton's most "original" piece of writing, because nobody had ever written about Satan's journey so intricately as Milton. To quote Isabel MacCaffrey, "The voyage of Books II and III is Milton's greatest "original" creation. There was precedent for the journey motif in epic tradition, but no real parallel to a voyage by Satan in the Christian literature on which Milton drew.(29)" Unlike most epic heroes, Satan does not necessarily come out on top at the end of his
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