Satan the Hero


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Eng. Lit H


2/6/04


In John Milton\'s Paradise Lost the diction and characterization draw the reader on a more sympathetic path to Satan. Milton characterizes Satan in an unorthodox way. Normally Satan would be seen as the evil, dark, and negative character in a piece of literature. However, Milton does the exact opposite by characterizing Satan as a positive figure, a hero, and he also uses his characterization to "justify the ways of God to men."


In Paradies Lost, Satan is at first ambitious and jealous of God\'s position and power. He does not like the idea of having one supreme ruler and wishes to be powerful too. He was "stirred up with envy and revenge [and] with all his host of rebel angels, by whose aid, aspiring to set himself in glory above his peers" (Milton 35-39). Satan "raised impious war in heaven [trying] to have equaled the Most High with ambitious aim against the throne and monarchy of God" (Milton 40-44). Satan\'s reasoning was misjudged though. In his mind, he felt that he was doing the right thing because all the angels were not equally represented. By him attaining the throne too, he would be able to balance out the power and bring equality. This shows that he was trying to be a positive figure and causes the reader to believe that Satan was a hero with good intentions. However, Satan\'s uprising caused him to be punished in the underworld forever. He and his followers were now in "a dungeon horrible on all sides around [with] regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace and rest can never dwell. [It is] a place where hope never comes and torture without ends urges [with] a fiery deluge" (Milton 64-69). This horrible setting causes Satan to become sad and feel sorrow because he had lost such a great place in heaven. "Lost happiness and lasting pain torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes that


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witnessed huge affliction and dismay" (Milton 55-57). Hell\'s horrible setting, Satan\'s sadness, and all the consequences cause the reader to feel sympathy for Satan. Again, Milton has cause the reader to grow fond of Satan and be on his side, thus making him the hero. Another way that Satan represented a positive and heroic ideal was how he tried to "make a heaven of Hell, [and] a Hell of Heaven" (Milton 255). He was not going to let his followers dwell in a horrible place. Instead he becomes positive and says, "Hail horrors [and] hail the infernal world. Here at least we shall be free, here we may reign secure, and better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven" (Milton 250-263). Satan turned a dismal place of pain into a place where he and his followers can be happy and proud. This event was Milton\'s finale in making Satan a positive evil and a heroic in Paradise Lost.


Satan\'s characterization brought justification to the ways of God too. The ways of God are that he shall have no one rise against him for he is all-powerful.. No one shall beseech God. He is above all man and men are his servants. God is all-powerful and will punish those who beseech him.. Satan\'s character of ambition and jealousy leads Satan to be evil and rise up against God. By gathering followers against God, Satan beseeches God. He questions the power of God and challenges his greatness. In retaliation against Satan God "hurled [him and his followers] headlong flaming from the ethereal sky to the bottomless perdition to dwell in chains and penal fire" (Milton 45-48). He punishes Satan by making him stay there for eternity to endure all the pain and inferno that hell has to offer. This same principle holds true for men. For those who dare to challenge God, they too, will receive the punishment. With that event, God\'s ways are justified.


In all pieces of literature, there is an element that plays vital in making a point or progressing the plot. For John Milton\'s Paradise Lost, the key element was characterization. Characterization was key in reversing a normal version of Satan into a positive and heroic one. Also were the judgments and actions of God which were proven


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throughout. Satan is seen as a heroic