Satan as Hero in Paradise Lost

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The name of Satan has been permanently tarnished and cursed throughout English literature. His heinous strategies have crafted an abominable reputation for him, the enemy of the Lord. However, in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Satan acquires a role depicted with characteristics associated with the epic heroes and heroines.

The first two books of Paradise Lost describe Satan, one-third of Heaven’s fallen angels, and their experiences after their eviction. In a state of anguish, Satan’s followers are still confident in their ambitious leader. With futures murkier than Hell’s obsidian darkness, Satan feels pressured to somehow compensate his demons for their humiliating downfall. When nobody volunteered to explore the rumored world of Paradise, Satan, as the commander, took it upon himself. Due to his unfaltering pride, Satan was somewhat courageous, a quality of an epic hero. Unfortunately, his main goal was to perpetually conquer all good things and to destroy anything representing God.

Boiling with animosity, Satan travels throughout Hell on a journey to find Paradise. By traveling through a few realms, his actions became noticeable to his enemies. God and Jesus Christ discussed the intentions of Satan against mankind and began planning on how they would defeat him. Satan had already become legendary in Heaven and he was about to promote that title with Paradise’s defeat.

In the books, Satan seemed to be misunderstood and at certain instances, desiring to repent. However, his eternal resentment towards God regenerated his hatred. He knew that he could not return to his previous state of innocence and his pursuit to forget his past seemingly characterizes him as a tragic hero. The reader feels sympathetic for him because his emotions mirror human emotions. Milton shows both sides of the enemy of God and in doing so, it is hard to place a solid analysis on one of the main characters in Paradise Lost.
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