Tragic Hero In John Milton's Paradise Lost

Good Essays
In Paradise Lost, we encounter several important characters that we can classify as the hero of the story but there is only one character who truly fits the category of a hero. Adam, the first man created by God, is a true example of a tragic hero. Several characteristics of a tragic hero are a noble birth, fated for punishment or great suffering, free will and enlightenment through suffering. Milton believes that his character or subject is more heroic than Achilles or Aeneas because he doesn’t have the great qualities or features that they had but he still behaves like they did. Adam’s birth can be considered noble in the fact that he was the first man ever created by God but at the same time, he is simply associated to nobility because of …show more content…
Adam knew what he was doing, but he decided to trust in his earthly wife, Eve, and forget the promise he had made God. Before Adam and Eve break the promise or the covenant they had made with God, we can see that Adam was already destined for doom because of the strong feelings he had for Eve, feelings that became greater than the love he had for God. “His whom to love is to obey, and keep His great command; take heed lest passion sway thy judgement to do aught which else free will would not admit; thine and of all thy sons the weal or woe in thee is placed; beware” Raphael warns Adam about the love he has for her, reminding him that there is one he needs to love more and obey. Raphael’s warning foreshadows a characteristic that a tragic hero has, free will. Adam’s free will to do with Eve and the Tree of Knowledge is what leads him to fall and be punished by God. Lastly, a characteristic of a tragic here is the knowledge that comes through the suffering the hero endures. “What better can we do, than to the please repairing where he judged us, prostrate fall before him reverent and there confess humbly our faults and pardon beg with tears” Adam humbles himself down to God and admits his error, proving to be the real hero of the story. I agree with Milton’s claim because Adam possesses all of the characteristics of a hero, and although he is not the main

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    He aims to test Adam and Eve’s strength by allowing Satan to inflict his deception on them. Adam and Eve both fail the test and that saddens God, but it also shows that the couple were not loyal to him. Biblical writers support this idea by saying, “genuine love cannot exist unless freely given through free choice to accept God’s love or to reject it,” (McDowell) and thus God allows evil to exist and enter Edan. Milton finally allows readers to understand his purpose for writing Paradise Lost, and his passion for it. Milton had written Paradise Lost to justify the ways of God to men, and did so poorly.…

    • 873 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Satan was disloyal to God and was cast out of heaven so that he may be the ruler of his own world working to be equal with God. He believes that even though he’s evil, they are going to bring forth good. Satan is fearless for going against God and takes whatever he feels God throws at him. Satan displays his disloyalty to God, courageous behavior to fight God the all powerful, but is destined to death because of his pride. While only Beowulf remained loyal to his people, both he and Satan in “Paradise Lost” exemplify courage and…

    • 1042 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Anything within Eve, including evil, would have come from Adam since she was created of him. In Book IX of Paradise Lost, Eve’s ignorance is what leads to her sin. Satan offers her a number of sound arguments that appeal to her weaknesses. He is very insistent that wisdom is not an offense, and with that wisdom it would be easier to shun evil: “Of evil, if what is evil / Be real, why not known, since easier shunned?” (Milton 698-699). Another large part of his argument is that eating of the fruit would make Adam and Eve, as humans, move up a level to…

    • 1115 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Eve believed she was made similar to God and desired that which wounds the Holy Spirit. She is responsible for all of Adam’s faults. He references a quote from Aristotle, “the cause of a cause is the cause of that which is caused” (Bartlett ,92). This quote is saying that Adam’s sin, which is the cause of Eve’s sin is the result of the original sin. Since Adam followed Eve’s example, it was Eve who was responsible in the first place therefore she sinned more.…

    • 1134 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    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.…

    • 1503 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    If God is all-knowing, then it is completely possible that Adam and Eve’s sin was another test to see if humankind was ready for his true plan of sending down his Son. God wanted to create a race that had the ability to make decisions for themselves, yet chose to worship him. He knew this would be hard, and I believe it was his plan all along to have Eve sin so that he could send Jesus Christ to Earth. This means that it is possible that Adam and Eve had no true “free will” if they were just following God’s plan and it is only God that has the power of free…

    • 724 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Essay On The Devil

    • 1824 Words
    • 8 Pages

    While Satan falls in the eyes of God, he does not lose the gifts that God gives him. Satan’s fall is a direct result of his vainglory that manifests out of his pride, the first sin (I Timothy 3:6). He still lives according to his beauty and his rebelliousness against God. Satan devotes himself to opposing the work of God in every way possible and attempts to destroy all of God’s good natural…

    • 1824 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    At one point in Paradise Lost, he takes time to question himself as to what more the fallen angels could have wanted. However, when it comes to humanity, Milton’s God truly plays the role of disappointed father that hopes to one day see his children redeem themselves. God was very clear to give mankind the free will to choose whether or not to bring the fall upon themselves. Despite their choice, Adam and Eve are given the promise of redemption in the far future. “Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand on even ground against his mortal foe,” (178-180).…

    • 928 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Paradise Lost by John Milton makes God appear unjust from Satan’s viewpoint. Satan’s grand speeches in books I & II give the reader a sense that Milton is attempting to make Satan the hero. However, Milton later reveals Satan’s exaggerative and untruthful ways indicating he is actually the enemy. Thus, through the character development of Satan and the manner of a true Promethean / Romantic hero, Adam is the true hero of Paradise Lost. Since the reader doesn’t know of Satan’s deceptive ways in the beginning, he is the first hero of paradise lost.…

    • 1340 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Her recognition is also a heroic act as more recently defined because, without her begging Adam to forgive her and taking all the blame, the human race would never have existed. Only with Eve’s sacrifice can her and Adam reconcile and beget the human race. Eve’s true recognition lies in realizing that salvation for herself, her husband, and the human race lies in her imploring Adam for his forgiveness. By painting Eve as the tragic hero, Milton is able to “justify the ways of God to men” (I.26), his entire purpose for writing Paradise Lost. Eve’s role as the tragic hero justifies the hierarchical nature of the Christian society, with women placed firmly below men because of their role in illustrating the fall.…

    • 1303 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays