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

1827 words 8 pages
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.
<br>Milton's introduction of Satan shows
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They are all willing to cooperate with Satan, and Satan loves being in charge of his followers. "Satan except, none higher sat, with grave \ Aspect he rose and in rising seemed a pillar of state" (Milton 72).
<br>Now that Satan has reached the peek of his greatness, he must start to decline in his heroic ways. The first sign is after his speech,
<br>I should be much for open war, O peers,
<br>As not behind in hate, if what was urged,
<br>Main reason to persuade immediate war,
<br>Did not dissuade me most,
<br>(Milton 64)
<br>This speech shows how Satan seems ready to battle with God, but after his flight to heaven we see him in a different view with respect to the following citation. "Satan, with thoughts inflamed of highest design, \ Puts on swift wings, and towards the gates of hell \ Explores his solitary flight"(Milton 88).
<br>In these lines, Satan seems to be overwhelmed with thoughts of how he is going to confront God. Satan is still viewed as a hero to his followers due to the way he goes to face God alone, "Satan their chief, undertakes alone the voyage, is honored and applauded" (Milton 59). Although, Milton shows the reader this side of Satan to make them think before assuming that Satan is the hero of the epic. Even with the "heroic qualities" Satan is given, one does not have to think of him as a "hero" (Hamilton 14). This speech foreshadows a future speech of Satan that places enough evidence against Satan being


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