Character Analysis Of Satan In Milton

Topics: Paradise Lost, Fallen angel, Angel Pages: 5 (841 words) Published: February 14, 2015


Character Analysis of Satan
Stacey N. Lodge
St. Francis College

In Milton’s Paradise Lost, multiple aspects of Satan’s character are revealed as the author narrates Satan’s battle with God. Upset because The Son was chosen as second to God and not him, Satan seeks out to come to power in Heaven. The result is his removal from Heaven to the ominous pits of Hell. One might be quick to automatically consider Satan as villainous and evil because of his role in Heaven as the rebel angel, however, after careful analysis, one might find that there is much more to see in this character than the obvious. Through Satan’s villainous and evil thoughts, words, and actions, there are surprisingly several noble characteristics that can be noted. Although Satan repeatedly uses these characteristics for the purpose of corruption and malevolence, characteristics of bravery, ambition, and being an opportunist can still be recognized while reading and interpreting the text. Book II opens with the chief devils imparting their viewpoints on which is the best action to take now that they have been expelled from Heaven and sent to this abyss. Moloch speaks in favor of a war against Heaven, while Belial counters Moloch with the idea to just accept their punishment and live on with the hope that perhaps God will forgive them one day. Another fallen angel, Beelzebub speaks and devises a plan to get their revenge by corrupting Man, God’s newest and most cherished creation. His plan is to go up to Earth and induce Man into sin so that God will have to destroy them. Although all the devils love the idea, none are brave enough to accept the task. Satan, the opportunist, who has sat quietly throughout the entire meeting, sees this as his chance to prove himself as leader of the entire fleet of rebel angels. An opportunist, by definition, is one who uses situations to uses situations to his or her advantage. As the meeting is going on, one can assume that Satan is sitting there with his scheme already devised, waiting for the perfect moment to shine. He temporarily takes the backseat, until he’s ready to show off his grandeur as noted in Book II line 427. Sitting quietly, he waited as everyone’s ideas were discarded. As soon as a plan was formulated and everyone agreed, he took the stage, accepting the assignment that everyone loved the idea of, but wasn’t willing to perform. As Satan sets out on this task, his level of ambition is revealed. Willing to face peril and all types of difficulties, he is unyielding in determination to be the hero for the fallen angels and get revenge. In lines 432-433, he acknowledges that “long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light”, but then goes on to say in lines 447-450, that nothing “in the shape of difficulty or danger could deter me from attempting.” Underlying Satan’s immorality lays determination and purpose. Even as he approaches sin, which is depicted as a woman who was beautiful from the waist up, but from the waist down was scaly and ugly, and death, he was not deterred. Satan stands up to sin and death and demands that they allow him to pass through the gates of Hell. He is even willing to go to battle with them, who initially had not been identified as his offspring. Satan simply did not care about anything aside from the task at hand. He was determined accomplish it without anything getting in his way. In this, Satan also shows that he possessed unwavering bravery. He was not afraid to stand up to God in Heaven and constantly proves to be unafraid of the consequences of his actions throughout the text. He is undaunted by the fact that he has been removed from Heaven and sentenced to the nightmarish and fiery underworld, so much that he is willing to go even further and take on this task of bringing forth the destruction of God’s most beloved creation. Even after being defeated by God, Satan still proves to be unstoppable. His...

References: Milton , J. (1667). Paradise lost.
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