Milton's Satan Essay

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In Book II, Milton’s Satan is portrayed as a controversially attractive figure. He is introduced, ‘exalted sat, by merit raised to that bad eminence… high on a throne of royal state’. His exaltation is in direct contrast to God’s where the former is on the end of maximal depravity while the latter on the opposite end of rectitude. Hell thus becomes a distorted reflection of Heaven, and Satan a contortion of God. However, despite being eternally overshadowed by and fixed in competitive comparison with God, the substantial figure, Satan, the mere travesty of a monarch, the insubstantial reflection in the mirror, takes on a very round character. This 3-dimentional attribute is credited to Satan’s portrayal as an underdog, a fallen angel, someone who struggles to repossess his dignity, as in book I where he attempts to regain his posture after the Fall, and his pride, where he reoccupies the throne of ‘bad eminence’ to ‘reign in Hell’. His emotions are very human and therefore very relatable, thus encouraging us to identify with his plight and even build a rapport with his character. Attractive attribute 1: Astuteness In Satan’s speech, addressing the other demons who fell with him, or rather who were brought to Hell by him, he is not shown to be discouraged or broken but attempts to encourage his minions. ‘[He gives] not Heav’n for lost’ because they will ‘appear more glorious and more dread than from no fall, and trust themselves to fear no second fate’. He coaxes the demons to believe that the Fall has actually provided them with advantages, that of being ‘more glorious’ and ‘more dread’ than if they had not fallen. He also cajoles them into security by encouraging them that because they have Fallen, they have reached the bottom and thus will fear no worse situation. Satan’s logic is undeniable that once you hit the bottom, you cannot experience anything worse.

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