Satan: Rebel or Hero?
John Milton’s epic, Paradise Lost, has had numerous, diverse evaluations and translations. Milton’s objective in composing it was to explicate the storyline of Adam and Eve. Even though the epic is like the biblical story in some regard, Milton’s character arrangement deviates from that of the Bible’s story. All through the epic, Milton illustrates the characters in the manner he imagines they are. In Paradise Lost, Milton depicts Satan as someone with heroic and insubordinate characteristics, but it becomes clear that Satan is not a hero. ??
To demonstrate how major Satan is to Paradise Lost, Milton begins with an introduction of Satan. He utilizes Satan’s valiant traits to his supporters, and his depravity capability to present the fine line between the virtuous and the wicked. Satan, who was called Lucifer, was a highly regarded angel in Heaven. This proves that he was formerly upstanding. The reader views Satan as a powerfully authoritative leader to all in his company. Milton illustrates Satan’s behavior when saying, “His pride/ had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host. Of rebel angels, by whose aspiring/ To set himself in glory above his peers” (Milton, 4). Arrogance was the chief cause why God banished Satan from Heaven. Satan constantly attempted to be the person in charge, instead of abiding God’s rules. He could have made a living in Paradise eternally, but his rebellious feelings were too strong as he declares, “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven” (Milton, 31). This demonstrates how keen he felt about not being below fellow angels. ?? Multiple happenings like the previously mentioned ones are used as persuasion to see Satan as a hero.
Satan is seen as the central and smartest angel. Satan is recognized as the second most powerful under God who has the most power. Before Satan chooses to renounce his current lifestyle and defy God, he was one of the most alluring and clever angels in heaven. Even though Satan was attractive, the main feature that makes him heroic is that he was the most commanding angel. This assists him significantly in his uprising against God because the additional angels admire him. ?? An additional ability can be seen in the rebellion, his speech talent. Satan is capable of convincing his fellow angels to accompany him in his revolt.
When Satan states, “to govern, not to serve,” he stresses freedom and persuades others to join him and his rebellion. Satan orates all throughout the story. His speeches are lengthy yet persuasive. Satan convinces one-third of all the angels in Heaven to team up with him. His orations heighten his followers’ interest and confidence in him. ?? ”To suffer, as to do/ our strength is equal; nor the law unjust/That so ordains. This was at first resolved, /If we were wise, against so great a foe /Contending, and so doubtful what might fall” (Milton, 68). In this part of Satan’s talk, Milton presents Satan’s skill by his diction. In addition, this shows why the others admire Satan, as Hamilton says, “Satan is seen as a prince of Hell, as Well as commoner and matchless chief” (Hamilton, 21). After obtaining supporters, Satan is prepared for war against God. Satan’s speech about locating in the Capitol of Hell, Pandemonium, is an arousing one. “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). The reader sees how much Satan enjoys the attention when his supporters root for him.
This exemplifies the important responsibility that Satan’s arrogance takes part in his judgment. Satan’s arrogance messes with his plot many different times. By doing this, Satan starts to fret about himself and the views of himself in his supporters’ eyes. Satan carries on stating, “Should we again provoke Our Stronger, some worse way his wrath may find to our destruction” (Milton, 63). ?This speech appears to be one of Satan’s top moments because his followers are ready to work with Satan, and he enjoys being the leader of his followers. Now that Satan has peeked his power, he begins to decrease his heroic traits.
The primary signal is after his speech, “I should be much for open war, O peers/ As not behind in hate, if what was urged/ Main reason to persuade immediate war/ Did not dissuade me most” (Milton, 64). Satan seems to be swamped with thoughts of how he is going to challenge God. Satan is still seen as a hero to his supporters due to how he goes to face God unaided, “Satan their chief, undertakes alone the voyage, is honored and applauded” (Milton, 59). Though, Milton displays this side of Satan to make them think before guessing that Satan is the hero of the story.
Even with the “heroic qualities” Satan has, one does not have to consider him “heroic” (Hamilton, 14). This speech foreshadows an oration that puts evidence against Satan being a hero. Satan is not as courageous as he was in the initial part of the story, but he has descended to sneakiness. Milton starts to show these characteristics to recognize the reality of Satan. Along with these details, the reader can notice how Satan is not a hero, but merely a person with a lot of power dependence with multiple heroic traits. Satan can be seen as a hero in the epic’s beginning, but Milton alters the outlook of Satan radically as the epic goes on.
Satan is actually a self-centered weakling that let his “pride lead to ingratitude towards God” from the epic’s start (Weber, 25). Even though Satan is a superb speech giver and grand warrior, he appears duplicitous of what he says to his supporters in what he thinks and what he actually performs. Satan’s initial introduction is an instance of this. Satan tells the others fallen angels to not be scared, despite his own fright. All throughout the epic, Satan’s character depreciates. Satan is seen as a grand fighter and then as time passes, his own supporters start to disbelieve him.
Milton has his bright hero go forward to be seen and then repelled. This shows how the two most heroic traits that Milton utilizes to portray Satan as an insubordinate hero were diminished, and Milton’s Satan is not a hero ultimately. Works Cited ?? Hamilton, George Rostrevor. Hero or Fool? A Study of Milton’s Satan. London: G. Allen and Uwin Ltd. , 1944. ?? Milton, John. Paradise Lost: Books I and II. Boston: Ginn, Heath, Pc Co. , 1883. ? Weber, Burton Jasper. The Constitution of Paradise Lost. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1971.