Satan In Paradise Lost

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In his epic Paradise Lost, John Milton recreates the Genesis story of the fall of man as it was caused by Satan. It is Satan's fatal flaws of pride and ambition that led him to battle over Heaven and even though he was defeated, he refused to give up his war against God, promising to always do evil against Him and man and succeeding with man's fall from grace. However, throughout the epic we also watch Satan struggle with the despair, desire and even the repentance he feels, making him seem more human than evil and eliciting our sympathy for him. Satan's fatal flaws, ever present inner struggles and his determination to wage covert battles in his war against God that he knows he cannot win, make him Milton's unlikely hero. Paradise Lost begins, not with the expected potential heroes of the Genesis stories, God or man, but he begins instead with Satan, thereby placing focus on him and his actions. Milton, introducing Satan by blaming him for the fall of man, "Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?/Th' infernal Serpent..." (1.33-34), appears to set him up as the definitive adversary, not just of the epic, but of humanity. He briefly tells of Satan's pride that led him to try to overthrow God and how he was cast into Hell, but he also tells us, "...for now the thought/Both of lost happiness and lasting pain/Torments him..."(1.55-56), right away trying to make Satan someone to be pitied, more human and less evil. Milton describes Satan's physical character to be "in bulk as huge/As whom the fables name of monstrous size,/ Titanian..."(1.196-198), and then "Deeming some island," (1.205), meaning Satan's size is so vast a sailor would mistake him for an island on which he can moor his boat. Satan's size growing larger with each new comparison supports Satan as the hero. Satan is so physically imposing Milton can't find anything his equal, setting him apart from the

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