Preview
Preview

Essay on John Miltons's Paradise Lost: Is Satan a Villain or Hero?

:: 7 Works Cited
Length: 2016 words (5.8 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Aqua      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The question of whether Satan is the hero or the villain of John Milton’s Paradise Lost has been largely debated by scholars over the centuries. The ones who believe Satan is the villain of the epic, more commonly known as the Anti-Satanists, tend to argue that Satan is too foolish to be considered a hero, as his “hostility to Almighty power” is ultimately a futile endeavour (as God’s power is omnipotent) (Carey, 135). C.W. Lewis, also an anti-Satanist, goes as far as to claim that to “admire Satan, then, is to give one’s vote not only for a world of misery, but also for a world of lies and propaganda, of wishful thinking” (Lewis, 203). The ones who claim Satan is the hero of the epic, the Satanists, perceive him as the rebellious angel who rises up and defies God’s monarchy and “the tyranny of Heav’n” (174).They choose to focus on Satan’s “nobler qualities, his loyalty in leadership, fortitude in adversity, unflinching courage and splendid recklessness” (Satan/Promo, 3). While these two positions are both valid, this paper will be focusing on a third position; the individuals who believe that Satan is neither the hero nor the villain of the epic. Helen Gardner addresses this notion, claiming how “Satan is, of course, a character in an epic, and he is no sense the hero of the epic as a whole. But he is a figure of heroic magnitude and heroic energy, and he is developed by Milton with dramatic emphasis and dramatic intensity” (Baker/Helen, 208). Satan is without a doubt the antichrist, or “villain” in the biblical scriptures, however one must take into consideration his alternative and more ambiguous portrayal in Paradise Lost. In this paper, I will analyze Satan’s actions, physical portrayal and speeches in Book I of Paradise Los...


... middle of paper ...


...s: The University of Minnesota Press*, 1953. Print.

Hamilton Rostrevor, G*. Hero or Fool? A Study of Milton’s Satan. London: George Allen & Unwin LTD, 1944. Print.

“Paradise Lost.”* The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt and M.H. Abrams. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. *(page). Print.

Lewis, C.W. "Satan." Milton: Modern Essays in Criticism. Ed. Arthur E. Barker. New York: Oxford University Press, 1965. 196-204. Print.

Gardner, Helen. “Milton’s ‘Satan’ and the Theme of Damnation in Elizabethan Tragedy.” Milton: Modern Essays in Criticism. Ed. Arthur E. Barker. New York: Oxford University Press, 1965. 205-217. Print.

Carey, John. “Milton’s Satan.” The Cambridge Companion to Milton. Ed. Dennis Danielson. ???. 1989. 131-145. Print.

Werblowsky, Zwi R. J. Lucifer and Prometheus: A Study of Milton’s Satan. London:… 1952. Print.



Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Satan, the Core of Milton´s Paradise Lost Essay - The great debate whether Satan is the hero of Milton’s Epic Poem, Paradise Lost, has been speculated for hundreds of years. Milton, a writer devoted to theology and the appraisal of God, may not have intended for his portrayal of Satan to be marked as heroic. Yet, this argument is valid and shares just how remarkable the study of literature can be. Milton wrote his tale of the fall of man in the 1674. His masterpiece is an example of how ideas of a society change with time. This is because it wasn’t until the 1800’s during the Romantic era, that people no longer saw the hero of literary works as perfect in every way....   [tags: theology, hero, poetry, Heaven vs Hell] 1302 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Satan in "Paradise Lost" - In John Milton's paradise lost, Satan, the antihero is a very complex character. His character changes dramatically from his first appearance till his last. He is the main reason of the fall of mankind, and he is the main reason for this whole poem. Satan, whom angel name was Lucifer, is a fallen angel. Due to his great pride, he defied god and tried to overthrow him and he was thrown out of heaven, after his failed attempt. At the beginning of the poem, Satan is viewed as a very majestic angel of great stature and an even bigger leadership skill....   [tags: Character Analysis] 530 words
(1.5 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay about The Role of Satan in Dante's Inferno and Specifically in Paradise Lost - The source of all evil, a terrifying entity, and the adversary of God in an eternal war for the souls of mankind, Satan is often put forward as a powerful “other,” having little in common with those he tempts and torments. For example, in Dante’s Inferno, Satan is massive, strong and beast-like, chained like Cerberus in Hell for the punishment of mankind, chewing on the bodies of history’s greatest traitors like a vicious dog. Milton's relatable, human-like Satan is on the other end of the spectrum....   [tags: the creation of evil]
:: 14 Works Cited
1854 words
(5.3 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Paradise Lost’s Satan and The Grand Inquisitor's Evil Essay - Evil’s origin begins with Adam and Eve using their special gift, free will, to commit the first sin. They sinned because they were tempted from the free will to choose between following or disobeying God’s orders. Paradise Lost is an epic written by John Milton that describes the fallen angel Satan and the fall of man. The Grand Inquisitor by Fyodor Dostoevsky is about an archbishop who talks with Jesus and wants to burn him as a heretic. Paradise Lost and The Grand Inquisitor both discuss free will and the stories of two benevolent characters that use their free will to choose evil....   [tags: compare, contrast] 773 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Satan’s Downfall in John Milton’s Paradise Lost Essay - 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....   [tags: hell, god, obedience] 600 words
(1.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
John Milton's Paradise Lost Essay - Paradise Lost is a story of Genesis told as it normally would be, but with a protagonist focus on Satan. The story is told largely with Satan being favorably portrayed and God having little presence other than cursing things, which convinces the audience that Satan’s view of God as a tyrant may not be too far off. Still, Satan is portrayed as the villain of the story. However, he has characteristics of a classical hero; including flaws that make the audience relate to and feel sympathy for him. By using part of the black-and-white Genesis story which paints Satan as evil and juxtaposing a narrative which paints Satan as a sympathetic hero, Milton raises a question about morality that largely...   [tags: story and character analysis] 873 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay Milton’s Paradise Lost - This essay-like commentary is aimed at discussing how John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) conforms to the genre of Epic or Heroic Poetry. In order to achieve that first they will be enlightened the similarities of this work, in both form and content, with the general characteristics of the genre. Afterwards, a closer look will be provided to the way Milton’s work incorporates and adapts the elements that the classical period and Old English added to Epic. Finally, a conclusion will be determined....   [tags: literaray analysis, novel]
:: 5 Works Cited
1419 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Paradise Lost Essay - Paradise Lost Milton writes Paradise Lost in the tradition of a classic epic poem. All epic poems contain some common features. Milton follows this outline with great precision and style. His poem uses the guidelines of an epic poem and elaborates upon them to make his poem one of the most popular epics written. In his poem, Milton uses the key points of an epic poem when he traditionally invokes a muse to speak through him, includes great deeds of valor, long speeches, and a list of the protagonists Milton follows the tradition of epic poetry when he asks a muse to speak through him....   [tags: Papers] 440 words
(1.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Heroism in Prometheus Bound and Paradise Lost Essay examples - Heroism in Prometheus Bound and Paradise Lost Heroism, the act of exhibiting noble or self-sacrificing conduct, and the appearance of heroism are two nearly indistinguishable manners. Their difference is the amount of depth contained, in definition. Heroism is an occupation. In determining if a character is heroic, the commentator must know the character’s intentions, manners, and desires. The appearance of heroism is a quality. To determine an appearance, the reader can use one piece of information to decide if a character appears heroic....   [tags: Papers] 631 words
(1.8 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
The Queer Dionysian Satan Essays - In the Christian tradition, Satan is commonly accepted as a hideous and monstrous being in direct contrast to God’s graceful mercy, often a shadowy figure with little depth. Yet there exists another very gothic view of this figure, as demonstrated by Milton in Paradise Lost, of a long suffering villain who appears more tragic artist than ultimate deceiver. The Monk, by Matthew Lewis, makes use of more tragic and mythical elements to make something altogether different, a Dionysian figure. Lewis uses such descriptive speech, symbols, and themes all connected to Greek myth to present a chaos creating character who transgresses not only God, but societal boundaries....   [tags: Literature]
:: 4 Works Cited
1418 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]