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Satan’s Downfall In John Milton’s Paradise Lost

746 words - 3 pages

Paradise Lost opens in media res: Satan is in a dire situation. He has been defeated and damned to hell’s fiery lake from heaven for disobedience to God, the same original sin committed by Adam and Eve. When he was an angel, Satan wanted others to look up to him instead of God. He decided to rebel after God declared his son to be above all other angels in glory and successfully persuaded one-third of God’s angels to join him in his rebellion. Together, they declared war on God and all those residing in his perfect heaven. In Milton’s Paradise Lost, Satan is initially portrayed as the hero of the epic; however, Satan soon begins transforming into various beasts, concluding with his ...view middle of the document...

Many of those who have read Paradise Lost consider Satan to be the protagonist of the story because he faces an internal struggle against his own doubts and weaknesses. (Sparknotes - Find better source) This causes controversy because most readers consider the protagonist to be the “good guy.” In reality, however, it is entirely possible for the protagonist to be the villain, or the antihero, of a piece. Satan is known to be purely evil, so it is entirely possible for him to be seen as the antihero.
This concept of the “anithero” is often disagreeable and one that is difficult to understand. Satan may be more easily seen as a tragic hero, defined by the Greek philosopher Aristotle as a man “who is not eminently good and just, whose misfortune is brought about not by vice or depravity, but by some error or frailty.” Satan is not a hero entirely good, or even a little bit good, in which he can do no wrong, but rather the hero committing an injury or a great wrong leading to his misfortune. (Reeves)
Satan certainly has his faults, the greatest being one the most incriminating: pride. Before the...

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