How Does Milton Present Satan As A Hero

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The Satan found in the bible is portrayed as a villainous, despicable creature with horns and a spiteful nature that seduces his victims into following him. He has no regard to any other soul other than himself and wishes to defy God just for the pleasure it will bring him. In essence, the Satan of the bible is no hero nor is he even an anti-hero. John Milton, however, characterizes his Satan in his novel Paradise Lost as a hero through the use of indirect characterization and the comparison of Satan to God and the Greek war hero Achilles. John Milton’s Satan is a character who uproots the current idea of a hero and a villain as he shows that sometimes there is another side to the story that is God’s and the devil’s. One heroic characteristic…show more content…
Satan is the ideal “American” hero in that he holds democratic ideals and beliefs as well as being loyal to his people. Satan’s democratic nature is revealed when none of his followers volunteer to take on the task of taking over Earth (38). Instead of forcing his people to submit to him and handle the mission, Satan himself volunteers to oversee it (Smith 2). His reasoning behind the mission of conquering Earth also seems to fight for freedom and the right to choose as Satan cries his argument for the war against God, “To us enslaved but custody severe and stripes and arbitrary punishment inflicted?” Satan is making a reference that God never gave the fallen angels and himself the choice to follow him, and they were basically slaves under an overseer in Heaven (34). He puts the decision to pursue war to a vote which highlights his willingness to have a more democratic society in Hell. Milton’s Satan, however was also superior as a moral being than his God in the idea of loyalty (Shelley 1). He wishes to raise his followers up from the depths of hell instead of just standing by and letting his people struggle. He never stops working towards their benefit even going so far as to risk his life to trick Adam and Eve. He even states this wish for his people remarking, “While here shall be our home, what best may ease the present misery and render Hell more tolerable… seek deliverance for us all” (38). The line reveals the loyalty he holds for his people and his refusal to give up on them in their time of need. Partnered with his democratic ideals, Satan holds the ideal of a true “American” hero. As Matt Wallace demonstrates in his article, Milton’s Satan is one whom modern mankind would follow to the depths of Hell, for his personality is enriched with loyalty and democratic ideals (Wallace

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