Critical Essay on Hero in 'Paradise Lost'

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If one was to describe the hero, he or she would say that hero may be a person of action and not of thought. They possess extraordinary skills and skills and sometimes surpass their peers in intelligence, strength, wittiness, and bravado. they typically affect wars or other dangerous ventures and are therefore ruled by the code of honor which makes them just, but their pride makes them deadly to their enemies. These characteristics, overconfidence, and therefore the need for the joys of adventure often cause them many troubles. If we glance at these characteristics of the hero, then it's extremely easy to assume that Satan indeed is the hero of Paradise Lost.

Paradise Lost starts, not with the expected potential heroes of the Genesis stories, God or man, but it begins instead with Satan, therefore paying great attention to him, his actions, and his characteristics. Milton, introduce Satan by condemning him because of the reason leading to the autumn of man, “Who first seduced the’ infernal Serpent” (1.33-34). during this sentence, it implied that Satan had begun to be found out because of the final rebel, not just of the epic, but of humanity. Milton easily represented Satan’s pride which led to his ultimate failure. He tried to overthrow God; while unluckily he was cast into Hell, but Milton also told us, “for now the thought both of lost happiness and lasting painTorments him”(1.55-56). At once, the author tried to form Satan to be pitied, more human, and less evil role. He also described Satan’s physical characteristics to be “in bulk as huge as whom the fables name of monstrous size, Titanian”(1.196-198). Satan’s size growing extremely larger compared with the others supports Satan because of the hero. Satan is so physically impressive that Milton can’t find anyone who can match him. Hence he's distinctive from the opposite angels and men.

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The function of a hero is added to make the reader sympathize and identify with the character he or she follows through their journey. This exactly could be the rationale why Satan may be a more approachable character than either God, Archangels, or Adam. Satan is brilliant, strong, quick-witted, and extraordinary in such how that he can almost reach the extent of God. But still, he's not perfect, he's flawed with almost human characteristics. he's proud, arrogant, and vengeful. he's rebellious and he is not afraid to need action against what he finds to be unjust. Juxtaposed to God and therefore the Son who are the epitomes of goodness, but yet ready to enact supreme and merciful justice, Satan seems to be a villain. However, if one was to seem at his characteristics more closely, his anger seems perfectly justified and his actions resemble those of the citizenry.

Milton employs the utilization of juxtaposition throughout the whole poem. The reader can initially encounter the juxtaposition and therefore the difference between heaven and hell when Milton describes the place where Satan and his rebel angels are banished, as an area so different from heaven. “As far removed tempestuous fire” (1.73-77). The reader is presented with two different environments and two different types of characters. those bound to hell are a gaggle of untamed, rebellious, and vengeful demons who want to wreak havoc to avenge their fall from heaven, and thus those in heaven are glorious, just, and surrounded by the goodness and wonder of God. And, most significantly, there's a juxtaposition between God who is omnipotent and just, but merciful, and vengeful and proud Satan. By contrasting these two characters, the reader is sure to justify Satan’s punishment and see him as an absolute sort of evil, however, his sin isn't the strife for evil, but pride, love of power, and hatred towards suffering.

We find Satan more appealing for several reasons throughout the text. for instance, from the very beginning, God is portrayed in a dark, menacing image. faraway from traditional images of God, which might normally depict God as holy and compassionate, God is characterized as wrathful and demanding. he's an angry God who remains distant throughout the whole story. This distancing of God doesn't allow the reader to align themselves with him and are forced to look at him as a dominant, omnipotent power without the characterizations of compassion and sympathy. When God comes up within the text, we don't see a welcoming God, but a God of rage and anger. God is depicted as “the almighty his rage” (2. 144). He displays his rage toward “lesser,” fallen angels, providing the reader with a sense of inequality between God and therefore the other angels. Later, when pertaining to Adam and Eve and therefore the Tree of Data, “God hath that Tree” (4. 428). Pertaining to the Tree of Data, God shows his wrath therein death will occur to Adam and Eve if they ever disobey his orders. This makes the reader and other characters within the story fear God, hindering their ability to look at him because of the hero.

Even though there is a myriad of thanks to explain how Milton uses the character of Satan as a hero, the question still arises of why would such a spiritual man whose poems and literature work closely follow the Scripture create such an appealing character to represent the epitome of all evil. because it is already mentioned, Satan at the start of Paradise Lost presents everything we might find altogether great heroes of today. he's heroic, brave, strong, and an incredible leader using his gifts of rhetoric to influence others in his own cause. Simply put, he's Odysseus and Achilles, a sort of classical hero every reader would be surprised to hunt out that he has fallen from grace. This comparison to classic heroes is strengthened by Satan’s quest. Like Odysseus and Achilles, Satan embarks on a journey for glory. He even volunteers to require the challenge (2.463-465). God even looks like an unfair, tyrannical, and strict ruler who asks his most brilliant angel to bow right down to his son. altogether aspects, Satan’s rage and therefore the desire for revenge seem perfectly justified that one can almost forget that the character in question is the devil himself.

Satan was a task who had significant obstacles to beat so as to understand his goals. within the historical long river, epic heroes in heroic poetry shared some similar characteristics, thus it looks like Milton felt his own duty to form Satan to be the epic hero in Paradise Lost. His characteristics within the poem shared some similarities with those of previous epic heroes like Odysseus. Epic heroes have some likeness. they're quite powerful, brave, and convincing; regardless of what odds are against them, they're going to get obviate the difficulties and achieve their goals, and most vital of all, they're leaders. Actually, Satan possesses quite the qualities in Paradise Lost. First of all, in the first beginning, Satan had lost the war he fight against God and therefore the angels in heaven and was “chained on the burning lake”. Satan and his fellow rebel angels were banished to measure in horrid dwellings. Milton described the discomfort of hell mentioned by Satan “Oh how tempestuous fire” (1.97). This shows that Satan met with important obstacles as most epic heroes encounter. Satan was powerful and enormous in size which usually personifies epic heroes.

After all that has been said, regardless of how unbelievable and unconventional it's, Satan still seems because the most probable hero of Paradise Lost. we've to think that the whole plot of this heroic poem revolves around man’s disobedience which was directly caused by no other character than Satan. Since the very beginning of this epic, we follow this unlikely hero on his journey from the magnificent angel in the Heavenly kingdom to the fallen angel and therefore the prince of Hell. he's the mover of the whole story, the one with which it starts and ends, the one who changes, fights, and becomes his own person with choices, regardless of what they're. he's never stagnant and forever changing. Other characters of Paradise Lost remain flat and unchangeable while Satan, just like the true hero, moves and creates ripples of actions that echo throughout the whole story; it's his loss of Paradise is that the first cause of the story. Therefore, aren’t all of those the characteristics that any reader would look at during a hero of an excellent epic?

As it was previously claimed, Satan himself, apart from his incredible strength and supernatural abilities, seems incredibly human. he's flawed, makes mistakes, and is driven by his intense desire for power. This desire and his overconfidence are the inner flaws that take him to his tragic end. this sort of character is therefore very easy to sympathize and identify with. Satan’s soliloquy may be a prime example of our sympathy for Satan. The tone of this speech is one of complete and utter dejection. Satan has come to the belief that he will never truly escape Hell as he says, “Which way am Hell” (4.75). The reader almost feels bad for him albeit he's the embodiment of evil. we will all relate to Satan in how.

Satan is filled with energy, and therefore the description of hell which, albeit it's a terrible sight of darkness and fire (3.16), remains far more thrilling to examine compared to the traditional and borderline boring heaven. Perhaps that's one of the explanations for why Milton created such a convincing character out of Satan. For a reader, it is often much more interesting to look at passionate and energetic characters, albeit they have questionable morals and norms than rule-abiding, passive ones who offer no thrill or excitement.

The way Milton builds his characters and creates depth and therefore the lack of it, makes readers easily swayed by the joys that Satan brings with him. it's much easier to ascertain him as a victim to a tyrannical ruler during a corrupt system of heaven where despite his competence, strength, and skills, he's still made to bow right down to God’s son. the craze Milton’s Satan experiences and therefore the journey of vengeance it drives seems not only justifiable but also a natural course of the events. But he doesn't care, because he has already become one with hell. Satan is happy to rule this horrid world, saying “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven' (1.263) This constant courage that Satan displays causes the readers to continue viewing him as a fallen hero.

In Paradise Lost, Satan is our hero. He has bad morals yet we still want to root for him. He possesses many of the qualities of a great hero, yet he has bad morals. The best way to sum Satan up is as an antihero. We shouldn’t cheer for him, but his charisma overcomes his shortcomings. Milton writes him as likable while God is not. God is wrathful and demanding. Satan is painted as a tragic hero who has fallen on hard times. Satan isn’t a typical hero, but he is our hero.

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Critical Essay on Hero in ‘Paradise Lost’. (2023, July 20). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/critical-essay-on-hero-in-paradise-lost/
“Critical Essay on Hero in ‘Paradise Lost’.” Edubirdie, 20 Jul. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/critical-essay-on-hero-in-paradise-lost/
Critical Essay on Hero in ‘Paradise Lost’. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/critical-essay-on-hero-in-paradise-lost/> [Accessed 16 Jun. 2024].
Critical Essay on Hero in ‘Paradise Lost’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Jul 20 [cited 2024 Jun 16]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/critical-essay-on-hero-in-paradise-lost/
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