Satan - “Paradise Lost” by John Milton

A Comprehensive Analysis of Literary Protagonists - Sykalo Evgen 2023

Satan - “Paradise Lost” by John Milton

A Complex Analysis of Satan in John Milton's "Paradise Lost"

A masterwork of poetry, John Milton's "Paradise Lost" explores the intricacies of the human condition, the essence of good and evil, and the fallout from disobedience. The central hero in this epic poem is Satan, a personification of disobedience and revolt against heavenly power. The many facets of Satan will be examined in this analysis, including his character type, function in the story, history, personality qualities, relationships, activities, conflicts, growth—or lack thereof—and overall relevance.

Determine the Type of Character

Satan is a compelling figure in "Paradise Lost." Even though the story opens with him as a majestic and strong angel, he goes through a significant character change. After his first act of disobedience against God, he is cast out of Heaven and into the depths of Hell. Satan's persona changes throughout the narrative, going from a rebellious and defiant angel to a more complicated and troubled person. He is dynamic as he wrestles with the ramifications of his decisions due to his internal conflicts and shifting motivations.

Examine the Character's Position in the Narrative

Satan is the main antagonist and person in "Paradise Lost." His disobedience against God initiates the events of the poem, which makes him a crucial character in moving the plot along. Because of his defiance of divine power, Satan serves as a trigger for humanity's fall and establishes the conflict that defines the story. As the adversary, Satan represents all that is evil; he seduces Adam and Eve and takes them off the straight and narrow road of obedience. Satan's figure, in spite of his evil position, gives the narrative depth and complexity and compels readers to consider the intricacies of morality and free will.

Look Into the Past of the Character

The origin of Satan comes from his time spent as an archangel in Heaven. He was highly esteemed and formerly known as Lucifer, the Morning Star. But his arrogance and need for independence caused him to revolt against God, which earned him a banishment from Heaven. Satan's character is shaped by this fall from grace, which also increases his resentment and resolve to resist God at all costs. To understand his objectives and the psychological conflicts that drive him throughout the story, one must understand his celestial origins.

Examine Personality Traits of the Character

Satan is a fascinating character because he has a broad array of personality qualities. His dedication, brilliance, and charisma are his distinctive qualities. Because of these attributes, he is a powerful and convincing character who can inspire his supporters even in Hell. On the negative side, Satan's intransigence, haughtiness, and pride play a part in his demise. The darker sides of his personality are brought to light by his refusal to express regret or take accountability for his deeds. These characteristics show up in his interactions with other characters and have an impact on his decisions.

Assess the Character's Interactions

The main characteristics of Satan's interactions are manipulation and power dynamics. He becomes a charismatic leader in Hell and wins the allegiance of the other fallen angels. But he has an authoritarian leadership style, and he frequently takes advantage of his followers' weaknesses to achieve his own goals. The complicated dynamics between Satan and his second-in-command, Beelzebub, are highlighted by the relationship that exhibits both loyalty and manipulation. His encounters with Sin and Death in Hell also serve to emphasize the fallout from his disobedience and the corruption of once-divine beings.

Examine the Behavior of the Character

Satan's deeds play a major role in the story of "Paradise Lost." His first disobedience to God establishes the framework for the cosmic struggle that follows. Satan travels to new places in Hell because he is adamant about opposing God's rule. One of those places is Earth. An important turning point in the narrative that causes humanity to fall is his choice to sneak into Eden and seduce Adam and Eve. Even though Satan acts maliciously, there is a melancholy undertone to his activities as he struggles with the results of his decisions. His unwavering pursuit of his objectives is demonstrated by his voyage through Chaos and Night to reach Earth.

Determine the Conflicts the Character Faces

Throughout the poem, Satan deals with both internal and exterior challenges. Despite extreme despair, he battles his pride and will not turn from his sins on the inside. The main plot is driven by his external struggle with God and the celestial order. Furthermore, Satan's internal strife is visible during his periods of reflection, when he analyzes his decisions and muses about the meaning of his existence. His destiny is shaped by his external fight with God, but his interior conflicts give him more depth and make him a more tragic and complex person.

Evaluate Character Development or Shift

Although Satan does experience a major metamorphosis, it is more of a decline into more depravity than an ascent. His persona changes from that of an angel in Heaven to that of a wicked force in Hell. Satan first shows bravery and tenacity in the face of hardship, but his refusal to turn from his sin and seek atonement results in a moral collapse. His ascent to the bottom of Hell and his tainted relationships with Adam and Eve reveal a severe lack of personal development. Rather, the story of Satan serves as a warning about the dire effects of arrogance and disobedience.

Provide Proof to Back Up Your Analysis

An extensive body of evidence is provided to support the interpretation of Satan's character by Milton's rich and evocative language. For example, Satan's declaration in Book I, "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven," perfectly captures his spirit of rebellion and unwavering pride. His soliloquies and conversations with other fallen angels show the inner conflicts and reasons that shape his behavior. The temptation of Eve in Book IX serves as a prime example of Satan's cunning and capacity to take advantage of people's weaknesses. It is possible to better understand the subtleties of Satan's nature by quoting these passages and looking at Milton's choice of language.

Determine the Significance of the Character

The role of Satan in "Paradise Lost" goes beyond that of an adversary. Milton uses his persona as a means of delving into difficult philosophical and theological issues. Milton explores the intricacies of morality, the nature of free choice, and the results of disobedience through Satan. Because of Satan's disobedience, readers are forced to consider the possibility that moral judgments are more individualized than definitive. The character's terrible destiny and final failure highlight the moral lesson of the poem, which emphasizes the need of obedience, humility, and the negative effects of unbridled pride.

In summary, Satan in "Paradise Lost" is a vibrant and nuanced figure who has a major influence on the story. He is a fascinating character who goes beyond the stereotypical image of a villain because of his rebellious spirit, tragic shortcomings, and decline into malevolence. Milton asks readers to consider the essence of morality, free choice, and the consequences of disobedience as he tackles important subjects through Satan. The persona has enduring relevance that goes beyond the poem's pages, influencing literary and philosophical debates over human nature.