Resisting Satan

In: English and Literature

Submitted By theguy15
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Resisting Satan in Paradise Lost

Satan, in Paradise Lost, is a very complex character. He constantly evolves throughout the poem. Over the years, critics have been questioning whether Milton wanted Satan to be appealing to readers. If this was his goal, he achieved it because most of the times one reads Paradise Lost it is hard not to sympathize with Satan’s character. The discussion over Satan has divided critics into “Satanists” and “Anti-Satanists”. John Carey says that “Satanists critics generally emphasize Satan’s courage; anti-Satanists his selfishness and folly” (133). He also says that this division diminishes the actual character. Satan is built upon ambivalence, which is “depth”. It cannot be said that Satan is a flat character. He goes through many phases along the poem. This essay will focus on Satan and how he evolves from the first time he appears in Book I to one passage from Book IX in which the Fall of Humankind takes place. His evolution will be analyzed through his actions and speech. In Book IX, Satan returns to Paradise but he feels tormented when he sees the beauties of the garden God created for Adam and Eve, but this does not stop him from achieve his purpose: tempt man and woman to obtain his revenge. Satan, in this book, is fully corrupted by his anger and thirst for revenge. In Book I, Satan is described as a titan of “monstrous size” that, watched from the right angle, could be mistaken for a mountain. Satan is not only great in size but also is great in speech. He has some of the best speeches in the whole poem, and he knows how to use them in order to get what he wants. Firstly he uses his words to raise a kingdom in hell and to attempt another war with God. Later, when he goes to see Adam and Eve, he pretends to be an angel and deceives Archangel Uriel into letting him pass. Finally his words help him to achieve his purpose of…...

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