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Milton's Satan in Paradise Lost Essay

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Milton's Satan in Paradise Lost


After researching Satan and his kingdom, Hell, through the Bible and Paradise Lost to compare and contrast the two characterizations, I realized that Milton must have been a true Bible scholar. Milton’s Satan is described so closely to the Biblical view of Satan that it is often times hard to distinguish the two. Milton changed and elaborated on a few characteristics of his Satan and his Hell in order to create Paradise Lost, but based his characterization and his descriptions on his interpretation of the Bible, using his imagination to form a more vivid picture of how horrible Satan and Hell are in reality.
The action of Book One in Paradise Lost begins immediately after God has thrown Satan and his other fallen angels down to Hell from Heaven. The reader then comes to know that Satan was cast into Hell because he became too proud and believed that his power was equal to God’s own power. He wanted to set himself up on a pedestal in Heaven. Milton writes, “What time his pride had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host of rebel angels, by whose aid aspiring to set himself in glory above his peers, he trusted to have equaled the Most High” (Norton 1819). In the book of Isaiah, the story is relayed very similarly to Milton’s version of how and why Satan fought against God and that he was thrown down into Hell. Milton speaks of Satan as “O how fallen!” (Isaiah 14:12-15). This phrase comes directly from Isaiah 14:12. Isaiah wrote, “How you are fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” (Isaiah 14:12). Isaiah continues in the same fashion as Milton in verse...


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.... Abrams, M.H. (editor). The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 7th Edition. Volume 1. New York City, NY: W.W. Norton and Co., 2000. pp. 1815-1825.

2. Abrams, M.H. (editor). The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Volume 2. New York City, NY: W.W. Norton and Co., 1968. pp. 704-707.

3. Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. The Statesman’s Manual; or the Bible the best Guide To Political Skill and Foresight: A Lay Sermon, Addressed to the Higher Classes of Society. London: Gale & Fenner, J. M. Richardson, and J. Hatchard, 1816.

4. Extreme Teen Bible: New King James Version. Ed. Bruce Barton, Christopher Hudson, and David Veerman: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999

5. Shelley, Percy Bysshe. A Defense of Poetry. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1904

6. The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version. Ed. Earl Radmacher,Th.D., Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997


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