John Milton 's Paradise Lost Essay

1598 Words Nov 21st, 2016 7 Pages
John Milton’s Paradise Lost is one of the most monumental and celebrated works in English literature. Often described as an “epic to end all epics”, it is renowned for its grandiose scale, unique manipulation of epic conventions, and the complexity of its narrative, characters, and language (Stallworthy et al. 1830). Among these distinctive features, one of them is quickly recognisable to the reader: its unconventional portrayal of Satan and the Fallen Angels. Departing from traditional Medieval and Renaissance conventions that tends emphasises monstrosity, with images of “blood-shot eyes, blood-dripping jaws, and mouths as big as [whirlpools]”, Milton creates characters who are distinctively human (Ruddick 50). Instead of a binary force of evil, the Fallen Angels are complex characters who possess human emotions of fear, anger, jealousy, and hopefulness. They are motivated and tempted by many of the same things human beings strive for: comfort, security, and power. Yet, despite their human characteristics, they also appear to be superhuman through their possession of immense powers to create or destroy. As the main antagonist of the story, Satan especially embodies these features, expressing “awesome energy and defiance, incredible fortitude, and magnificent rhetoric” (Stallworthy et al. 1830). This mix of the human experience, the superhuman, and epic conventions fascinated the many writers and critics of the subsequent generations. The English poet Willman Blake, for…

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