In Paradise Lost by John Milton, Satan is depicted as a malicious and deceiving character who is fueled by his own ambitions to overthrow God. His role and appearance in Paradise Lost is conveyed through his envious behavior, his foolish attempts to battle God, and his cunning deceptions. Satan’s manipulative and malignant personality is also demonstrated in various verses of Scripture and CS Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters by demonstrating his spiteful behavior and self-deluded lies.
Satan, once the bearer of light, fell from heaven due to his disdainful envious behavior. He thought of himself equal to his creator, God, and wanted to aspire to his ruler. For example, in Milton’s Paradise Lost it reads, “To set himself in Glory above his Peers, / He trusted to have equaled the most high” (1). His ambitions and desire to gain the highest of authority and power reveals he is primarily motivated by his envious behavior and jealousy of God. Satan was cast into Hell because he became too proud and believed that his power was equal to God’s own power. His need for fulfilled aspirations is also illustrated in CS Lewis’ The Screwtape Lettters. Lewis’ satiric and ironic letters is about a demon, Screwtape, writing to his nephew demon, Wormwood, about how to control human emotion so that they would not follow God. In the first letter, after Screwtape discusses a successful story of eluding an atheist away from God he states, “He is now safe in Our Father’s house” (2). Their “Father’s house” is referring to Satan’s Hell and because Satan is given the title of “Father” he is set to the equal status of mankind’s Father, the Almighty. Satan’s behavior and narcissistic ego is supported in the The Screwtape Letters, his envious behavior provokes his malicious actions against God which led to his punishment of being cast away. Satan’s greatest fault is his pride. However, his self-admiration and resistance to serve under God, allows Satan to view his defeat as a win because he became a servant of God to ruler of Hell, and it is “Better to reign in hell, than serve in Heav’n” (Milton 2).
Satan’s overly prideful ego led him to believe he had the ability to battle and defeat God. The rebellion against the Almighty headed by Satan was extremely ludicrous and absurd but Satan’s free will drove him to challenge God. As shown in Milton’s Paradise Lost,
If he oppos’d; and with the ambitious aim / Against the Throne and Monarchy God / Rais’d impious War in Heav’n and Battel Proud / With vain attempt. Him the / Almighty Power Hurld headlong flaming form th’Ethereal Skie / With hideous ruin and combustion, down / To bottomless perdition. (1)
Satan’s attack against the heavens was unreasonable but his own free will created the motivation to oppose God and the defiance to never yield under him. For instance, in Book I of Paradise Lost it reads, “And study of revenge, immortal hate, / And courage never to submit or yield” (1). His failure to overthrow God created his bitter hate...