Milton’s Portrayal of Satan in Paradise Lost and the Notion of Heroism


Authors: Jamal Subhi Ismail Nafi’

Abstract: This paper examines the question whether Satan is really the hero of John Milton’s great epic poemParadise Lost (1667). There are controversial debates over this issue, and most critics believe that, although Satan acts and speaks heroically, God is the real hero of the poem, not Satan. The paper adopts the analytical approach. The findings of the paper reveal that the central character Satan is a devil that acts for his own self-interests, and cannot do good, even to his followers, the fallen angels. The paper finally shows that, every impulse in Satan towards good has died out. The element of nobility that redeemed his character at the outset from absolute baseness has been killed. Hardly therefore shall we believe that Milton meant us to see in the fallen and ever falling archangel the hero of his poem. That position surely belongs to Adam.

Keywords: Deterioration, Devil, Heaven, Hell, Heroism, Milton, Paradise Lost, Punishment, Satan, Theology

This paper was published in International Journal of Literature and Arts,  if you like, you can read the full article for free in SciencePG.

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