Authority In Paradise Lost

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When an angel opposes the power and might of God, the almighty deity inevitably banishes him from the realm of Heaven and leaves him to rule over nothing more than a wasteland. In John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost, such is the case of Satan, a former subject of the Lord fallen from his grace. God banishes the angel to Hell, where Satan, left to ponder the quality of his newfound life, slowly accepts his fate and addresses the presumed advantage of being free from the clutches of God, whose ultimate authority he despises greatly. Satan wonders about his own power, thinking about the things he would do differently from God in a realm of his own, and demonstrates his abilities to exert his own authority if given the chance. His beliefs and …show more content…
Satan illustrates God as a “Terror of Heav’n” (Milton 2:457), with his rivals “[dreading] not more th’ adventure than his voice” (2:474). From his observations, Satan demonstrates his scathing opinion of God as a ruler, viewing his ability to govern as authoritarian. The resulting imagery and characterization Satan uses to describe God, serving to paint him in a rather negative light, further contributes to Satan’s criticism of God’s absolute authority over the kingdom of Heaven. Satan’s resistance to what he perceives as God’s overbearing nature stems from his own sense of pride, additionally establishing his desire for free will out of God’s clutches. It can be interpreted that from this pride, the fallen angel’s depiction of God’s authority is no more than an exaggeration, an attempt to demonize God as a tyrannical figure. It further establishes Satan and God as foils of one another – not only being on the sides of evil and good respectively, but also as Satan’s desire for free will contrasts with God’s implementation of absolute authority. But conversely, Satan also addresses that not all is perfect under God; he addresses that the heavenly king has been “proclaiming peace, / yet [men] live in hatred, enmity, and strife] (2:499-500). In the eyes of Satan, God’s demand for respect as a ruler tries to justify the fallen angel’s hatred of …show more content…
As the John Milton epic Paradise Lost illustrates, the fallen angel sees God as a bully and a tyrant, seeing no key advantage in his overwhelming power. In his ensuing contemplations and planning with his associates, he brings to light various traits that could inevitably shape Satan into how he could function as a ruler. He carries this with him as he addresses the fall of man to sin, stressing his desire to promote sin and death in the world over the supposed goodness of God he perceives as imperfect. Should Satan ever succeed in his ploy to gain control of the realm of Heaven, his way of enforcing his reign would prove to be starkly different from that of God’s, establishing the darkness of sin and death as a foothold in the

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