Satan's Pity in Paradise Lost

Decent Essays

“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.
Throughout the passage, Milton inserts beautifully emotional words that describe Satan’s contrasting feelings: grief and joy, woe and bliss, loathing and delight. The positive feelings that Satan expresses, though describing Adam and Eve’s state, reflect the good nature in Satan. That nature is visibly small, as Satan describes himself as joyful or blissful. He merely observes this happiness in Adam and Eve; he even speaks the words with hints of regret. The negative words have a much more powerful effect: Satan uses these words to describe his own feelings and his own domain, Hell. The feelings of grief, woe, and loathing are his, not Adam and Eve’s, and thus

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