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Milton's Paradise Lost Essay

1752 words - 7 pages

Milton's Paradise Lost

From the War in Heaven through the fall of man in Paradise Lost,
Satan's weapon at every point is some form of fraud (Anderson, 135).
Milton's Paradise Lost explains the biblical story of Adam and Eve.
Although the epic is similar to the Bible story in many ways, Milton's
character structure of Satan differs from that of the Bible's version.
Milton describes the characters as the way he believes they are
throughout the epic. In book two of Paradise Lost, Milton portrays
Satan as a rebel who exhibits certain heroic qualities, but who turns
out not to be a hero. Everything that Satan reveals is reason mixed
with obscurity, and lies mixed with the truth.

Milton's introduction of Satan shows the reader the thin line between
good and evil. Satan was once one of the highest angels in Heaven, and
was know as Lucifer, the light bearer. Milton portrays to the reader
that Satan was once a strong leader and had a large impact to all in
his presence. He best describes Satan's devious way when stating, "His
pride/ had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host. / Of rebel
angels, by whose aspiring/ To set himself in glory above his peers"
(Book I L 37). Satan's pride was the main reason that God banned him
from heaven. Satan continuously tried to be above God, instead of
following in God's shadow. He would have lived a life in Paradise
forever, but instead, he followed his feelings. "Better to reign in
Hell than serve in Heav'n" (L 263). This shows how strongly he felt
about not being above God in Heaven, and only being second "best."
Milton uses many examples as the one above to portray Satan's true
qualities to the reader. Milton uses many events like the ones listed
above to encourage the reader to view Satan as a hero. Satan is
described to be the brightest and most important angel (McColley, 32).
These traits of Satan show how one might recognize Satan as the second
in power right below God, who was the highest power of all. Before
Satan decides to give up what he has and to rebel against God, he was
one of the wisest and most beautiful of all the angels in heaven
(McColley, 24). Because Satan was seen as the most powerful angel in
heaven, this helps him greatly in his rebellion because the other
angels look up to him because he was the greatest.

When Satan does rebel, we are forced to recognize another skill in
which he possesses. This is his inevitable ability to give speeches.
With this ability, Satan is able to persuade others to follow him in
his rebellion. When Satan says, "to govern, not to serve" (Anderson,
135) he emphasizes liberty and encourages the other angels in heaven
to all join him and his rebellion (McColley, 22). Milton devotes a lot
of time to the rebellion scene showing the reader how significant and
important Satan is in his eyes. Satan...

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