John Milton's Satan in Paradise Lost

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John Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost is an epic poem by 17th century English writer, John Milton. At the time of its publication it caused a lot of controversy due to its in-depth depiction of Satan around the time of The Fall of Adam and Eve. In this poem we question about parallels between Milton’s version of Satan and Milton himself. In attempt to understand these parallels we can observe the text to better understand how Milton portrayed Satan’s character. Satan’s heroic persona is heavily focused on in the first few books to display the complexity of his character and make him relatable to the reader. Also, we can see both directly and indirectly in the text how Milton is able to relate to Satan’s character in Paradise Lost. Lastly, by combining information and evidence from this epic poem, we can further distinguish what Milton is trying to convey about both Satan and God.

Throughout this epic poem, Milton’s Satan is heavily focused on in order to display the intricacy of his character. In doing so, Milton creates an appeal to this character by creating familiarity with the reader. Satan repeatedly exhibits character flaws giving him relatable, human-like qualities. Previous to Paradise Lost it would have been assumed that Satan would be purely evil without second guessing his decisions. However, after The Fall in Milton’s epic poem we are introduced to a new form of Satan. For example, in Book I Satan shows unexpected weakness when he says, “A mind not to be changed by place or time. The mind is its own place, and in itself Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n” (bk 1; line 253). This line displays Satan’s unhappiness as well as his attempt to create a false image in his mind to regain that happiness. Satan again shows human-like attributes when his “heart distends with pride” (bk 1; line 571) as he looks out at the army of followers that he has gathered. Despite the cruel intentions of his army, the audience is then able to...
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