Paradise Lost Narrator

703 Words 3 Pages
Book One of John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost hones in on the story of one very familiar main character: Satan. After Milton’s brief explanation of how and for whom he is writing the poem, Satan appears with a distraught Beelzebub after they and several others were sent to “bottomless perdition” (47). Satan is remarkably calm in regards to what has occurred and aims to rise up against God, seeking to create as much evil as he can in the world in order to defy God and God’s goodness. Throughout the whole first book, one hears of Satan’s goals and ambitions, his leadership qualities, and his sheer optimism. One hears no direct dialogue from God or, other than Beelzebub, from any of the other characters in the text. This can leave many readers with a startling question; is Satan the protagonist in Paradise Lost? Does Milton have a specific motive for giving Satan a voice, and what does this say about the religious connotations in the text?
A standard definition of the term “protagonist” is “the leading character or one of the major characters in a drama, movie, novel, or other fictional text.” It,
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If Satan was not a well-known anti-religious figure and was merely a character in Paradise Lost, readers would undoubtedly sympathize with his situation. However, common knowledge of Christianity concludes that Satan is viewed as the root of all evil, and anyone who has read the Bible and is reading Paradise Lost could conclude that Satan is not going to overthrow God by the end of the poem. However, Milton also hints towards this conclusion in Book One. First of all, Milton illustrates that Satan’s arguments are all talk and no action; Satan’s hubris is very profound in this section of the poem. Hubris, like for many other tragic heroes, is Satan’s foreshadowing of his coming failure. Also, Milton compares Satan to the Greek gods Briareos and

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