John Milton Paradise Lost Essay

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A Psych Analysis of Satan
(A psychological evaluation of the character of Satan in John Milton’s Paradise Lost)

In every epic tale, there is an equally as epic hero. This is shown in all of the classical stories: Achilles in The Iliad, Odysseus in The Odyssey, and Aeneas in Virgil’s Aeneid. Since John Milton wanted to make an English epic poem in his masterpiece of Paradise Lost, there of course had to be an epic hero. Despite this, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint the protagonist of the work. Knowing Milton’s piousness and love of his Protestant religion, most readers would agree that it is unlikely that the hero is the character of Satan. However, the fallen Archangel is the most plausible candidate based on the first few books of
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In the very beginning of the story, Milton asks God to inspire him so that he might, “Justify the ways of God to men,” and put to rest the issue of theodicy (1.26). As a devout Protestant, Milton sought to portray God as being righteous and not at fault for the fall of man. Thus, it is contrary to Milton’s goal to have Satan, an angel rebellious to the authority of God, as the hero of Paradise Lost. Instead, as one writer points out, “Milton’s primary defense of God is a conflated of Satan so vivid and compelling that a reader is likely to identify with the Arch-fiend,” suggesting that Satan is attractive to the reader as a hero because that character is supposed to warn us (Wallace). It is hard for readers to connect to moral beings like the good angels in Paradise Lost because of the sinful nature of mankind. By presenting the character of Satan, who tempts the readers by struggling with authority and knowledge just as they do, Milton gives his audience a character to relate to. Even though some readers might find Satan to be the hero, the detailed descriptions of the consequences of his actions are to warn people into obeying God. According to one scholar, “Satan...does not, in the end, prevail or achieve his goal,” suggesting that the character of Satan is not a hero to the reader as he fails (Smith). As Satan loses to God after being disobedient, so will any reader who falls in his footsteps. Milton presents not a hero for people to admire, but a figure that serves as an example of what not to do. This character teaches readers to be obedient to God through

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