Who Is To Blame In Milton's Paradise Lost?

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Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton which tells the story of the fall of man as written in the first chapters of Genesis. Milton uses the poem to clarify what he thinks are part of the story in the first three chapters of Genesis. The Bible gives short accounts of the creation, the birth of man and woman, the temptation and the fall of man but Milton tells the story from his own perspective to add to the Biblical version. Satan is an archangel. He is rebel, the begotter of evil, a personification of evil, the fallen angel, a spirit created by God, and also the tempter. Milton wants to explain why Satan is seen as the orginator of evil,why he was motivated to destroy creation. In telling …show more content…
Milton’s Satan is somewhat heroic in his self awareness, unlike Adam who shys from owning up to his mistakes. Satan embraces commits to evil, accepts his fate, although he underestimates God’s power. In Book III, God claims, ‘they themselves decreed/ Their own revolt, not I: if I foreknew/ Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault’(III. 116-118). This includes Satan,once he has rebelled, he could have repent but he does not. He was aware of what he was doing and he accepts it because hell is in him and he can’t get rid of his pride. Satan is angry about losing the battle in Heaven, and he plans to take his anger out on God by hurting mankind. “When he first lands on Eden, he addresses the sun. He tells it that he hates its beams because they remind him of what he once was”(III). Satan therefore resolves to be evil because he has no hope or fear. “His self awareness is elicited by the sun’s brilliance, an external that not only recalls a lost paradise but intensifies the darkness of his inner being”(Fields. 396) Satan wants to liken himself to God, he wants to be like God and he believes “that it is better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven, since he tries to ignore, perhaps is already beginning to forget, the …show more content…
Through the course of the epic, he transitions from the most beautiful to the ugliest, but this degradation is all his own fault. The Satan of the first two books is a spirited commander who rallies his defeated troops, restores them to military discipline, and oversees the construction of a new capital. He alone plotted plotted the fall of man. His degradation begins in the third book, where to supposedly hide from God, Satan assumes the form of a toad, which other archangels laugh at and eventually a serpent. In Book 3, Satan disguises himself as a Cherub to get the directions to earth from Uriel. These bestial disguises are “symbols of his progressive degeneration and also evidence of his prudence and his fraud”(Steadman. 269). The different guises and shapes that Satan assumes become a revealing pattern in the work. In Book I, Satan appeared almost as he had in Heaven a majestic being. Later, he is in the form of a cherub, a much lesser angel. Next, when he leaps the wall into Eden, he sits in the Tree of Life as a cormorant, a large ravening sea bird that symbolizes greed. As he explores Eden and observes Adam and Eve, he takes the forms of a lion and a tiger. Finally, when he is captured whispering in Eve's ear, he is described as "squat like a toad"(PL IV. 800). He has been “stripped of his pseudo-heroic mask”(Steadman. 270). The devolution or degeneration of Satan in these different shapes is a

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