However, the progression, or, more precisely, regression, of Satan's character from Book I through Book X gives a much different and much clearer picture of Milton's attitude toward Satan. Writers and critics of the Romantic era advanced the notion that Satan was a Promethean hero, pitting himself against an unjust God. Most of these writers based their ideas on the picture of Satan in the first two books of Paradise Lost. In those books, Satan rises off the lake of fire and delivers his heroic speech still challenging God.
Table of Contents Satan Some readers consider Satan to be the hero, or protagonist, of the story, because he struggles to overcome his own doubts and weaknesses and accomplishes his goal of corrupting humankind. Nor does it make sense for readers to celebrate or emulate him, as they might with a true hero.
Yet there are many compelling qualities to his character that make him intriguing to readers. It would be difficult, perhaps impossible, for Milton to make perfect, infallible characters such as God the Father, God the Son, and the angels as interesting to read about as the flawed characters, such as Satan, Adam, and Eve.
Satan, moreover, strikes a grand and majestic figure, apparently unafraid of being damned eternally, and uncowed by such terrifying figures as Chaos or Death. Many readers have argued that Milton deliberately makes Satan seem heroic and appealing early in the poem to draw us into sympathizing with him against our will, so that we may see how seductive evil is and learn to be more vigilant in resisting its appeal.
He casts himself as an innocent victim, overlooked for an important promotion. But his ability to think so selfishly in Heaven, where all angels are equal and loved and happy, is surprising. His confidence in thinking that he could ever overthrow God displays tremendous vanity and pride.
When Satan shares his pain and alienation as he reaches Earth in Book IV, we may feel somewhat sympathetic to him or even identify with him. But Satan continues to devote himself to evil. Every speech he gives is fraudulent and every story he tells is a lie. He begins the poem as a just-fallen angel of enormous stature, looks like a comet or meteor as he leaves Hell, then disguises himself as a more humble cherub, then as a cormorant, a toad, and finally a snake.
His ability to reason and argue also deteriorates.
In Book I, he persuades the devils to agree to his plan. In Book IV, however, he reasons to himself that the Hell he feels inside of him is reason to do more evil. When he returns to Earth again, he believes that Earth is more beautiful than Heaven, and that he may be able to live on Earth after all.
Satan, removed from Heaven long enough to forget its unparalleled grandeur, is completely demented, coming to believe in his own lies.
He is a picture of incessant intellectual activity without the ability to think morally.Satan. BACK; NEXT ; Character Analysis. Milton's Satan is one of the most dynamic and complicated characters in all of literature. While he possesses an unhealthy thirst for vengeance and havoc like the little red dude with a pitchfork you're used to seeing, Satan is also the most likeable character in the poem.
Analysing Milton’s character, Northrop Frye claims, “What Satan himself manifests in Paradise Lost is the perverted quality of parody-heroism Consequently it is to Satan and his followers that Milton assigns the conventional and Classical type of heroism”6.
Analysis of Satan's Speech in Milton's Paradise Lost John Milton's Paradise Lost is a work of enduring charm and value because of its theological conceptions, its beautiful language, and its "updating" of the epic to the modern world's values.
BACK; NEXT ; Character Analysis. Milton's Satan is one of the most dynamic and complicated characters in all of literature. While he possesses an unhealthy thirst for vengeance and havoc like the little red dude with a pitchfork you're used to seeing, Satan is also the most likeable character .
Satan is meant to be the antagonist of the poem, but he is also the most dynamic, interesting character. Satan Quotes in Paradise Lost The Paradise Lost quotes below . Milton, by beginning in medias res gives Satan the first scene in the poem, a fact that makes Satan the first empathetic character.
Also, Milton's writing in these books, and his characterization of Satan, make the archfiend understandable and unforgettable.