In this essay I shall be focusing on the characters of G-d and Satan from 'Paradise Lost' by John Milton. Within the essay I shall be attempting to elucidate on the themes of ambiguity of the two characters as well as the uncertainty of moral integrity of each, characterized by John's Milton's use of sentence structure, private thoughts and symbolism.
Foremost I would like to look at the way the way in which Milton characterizes the characters of Satan in particular. Milton specifically presents different elements of Satan's character by his interaction with those around him. For example it may seem ultimately that Satan (even by his very name) is a creature of great evil. However, Milton shows elements of self doubt and an almost pitiful nature, forming a contradiction of the stereotypical image of what Satan represents.:
'Which way I fly is hell: My self am hell'
The repetition of the word 'hell' exaggerates a sense of futility now that he has come to Earth for the first time. The questioning tone implied by the use of the word 'which' further empathises this. The reader no longer needs to label the morality of such a character; Satan defines himself with the use of the pronoun 'my' and the preceding definition and assessment that 'My self am hell'. Furthermore through Satan's own assessment the distancing technique by the word 'my' appears to exaggerate the notion of the definition of himself, the natural pause due to the unusual syntax further accentuates this. The use of Milton's alliteration in 'Racked with deep despair' when describing Satan's countenance only empathises this pitiful nature.
However this sense of self dou...
... middle of paper ...
...ng that G-d deliberately leads Satan into greater evil.
From the outset it appears that G-d and Satan remain in opposition together, an important characterisation of Milton. 'Paradise Lost' states that Satan was acting;
'Against the throne and monarchy of G-d.'
Weston continues this theme by saying that:
'In a fundamental sense, then, the 'hell' of human struggle can be said to have produced the 'heaven' of peace and harmony.'
In other words without the intensity of one character, in 'Paradise Lost' we would be without the other.
Works Cited and Consulted:
Bush, D. 'John Milton' Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1964.
Empson, W. 'Milton's G-d' Penguin, London, 1973.
Milton, J. 'Paradise Lost' Penguin, London, 1955.
Weston, P. 'Paradise Lost- A Critical Study, Penguin Middlesex, 1984.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Comparing the View of Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost with Contemporary Views of Satan In Milton's classic epic poem Paradise Lost the reader gains a judicious and even controversial vision of Satan as the protagonist of the epic. This is in direct contrast with our current idea and opinion of Satan as the leading nominal of evil and darkness. In Milton's Paradise Lost the Prince of Darkness is our hero. Perhaps not in the true sense of the word, but rather, he is the character that the reader is able to understand.... [tags: Milton Paradise Lost ]
1114 words (3.2 pages)
- ... The location of Hell is also leads its own questions of what purpose Hell might actually serve. The narrator states Hell is located “as far remov’d from God and light of Heav’n as from the center thrice to th’ utmost Pole” (Milton 1.73-74). Satan and the Rebel Angels are thrown as far away from Heaven as possible which could suggest God does not try to deal with problems head on but rather locks them away as a form of ensuring their ways of thinking do not spread within the walls of Heaven. Being so far away from Heaven would mean God wants absolutely nothing to do with those thrown into the world, He isn’t a leader looking to help those who might have gone astray, and could He really be... [tags: Paradise Lost, John Milton, Hell]
1411 words (4 pages)
- John Milton grew up in a middle class family in London and was exposed highly to a variety of cultures. His father was highly devoted to the Protestant cause and this devotion wore off on Milton, which be demonstrated in many of his works. At the age 13, Milton began his formal education and was even tutored at home. He went on to several different higher learning opportunities and programs. By 1652, Milton found himself to be completely blind due to his long nights reading next to candle light.... [tags: John Milton, Epic poetry, Paradise Lost]
1247 words (3.6 pages)
- John Milton’s Paradise Lost is a great story on the creation of mankind and their ultimate downfall. It heavily depicts Satan’s fall from heaven, along with the other angels that revolted with him. Milton depicts a a few phenomenons that drastically changed after the fall of man. The single action of Adam and Eve eating the apple caused the what many view as the biggest swing in human history. The one thing that could be most heavily altered is the knowledge of mankind on their surroundings and what makes up the world.... [tags: Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve, Original sin]
1036 words (3 pages)
- Satan’s Myth of Free Will in Paradise Lost Milton, through Satan's soliloquies in Book 4, shows that Satan's idea of free will is a facade, and God carefully manipulates him to fulfill his plan of Adam and Eve's fall. While speaking, Satan inadvertently places doubts in the reader's mind that his will is free. Satan proves through his actions that God created him to act in a very narrow range, even though he himself does not realize this. The combination of pride, ambition, abhorrence of subordination, and ignorance of his own state as a puppet lead to perpetually diminishing stature and divinity.... [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
1268 words (3.6 pages)
- Paradise Lost is one of the finest examples of the epic tradition in all of literature. In composing this extraordinary work, John Milton was, for the most part, following in the manner of epic poets of past centuries: Barbara Lewalski notes that Paradise Lost is an "epic whose closest structural affinities are to Virgil's Aeneid . . . "; she continues, however, to state that we now recognize as well the influence of epic traditions and the presence of epic features other than Virgilian. Among the poem's Homeric elements are its Iliadic subject, the death and woe resulting from an act of disobedience; the portrayal of Satan as an Archillean hero motivated by a sense of injured merit and... [tags: Epics Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
3232 words (9.2 pages)
- The Power of Free Will in Milton's Paradise Lost Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Remember always that you not only have to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one." To be an individual means to act by choice and make decisions with free will enhanced by the power of knowledge. Only then are people true to themselves and to others. In Paradise Lost, Milton clearly conveys this concept of acting freely under God. He shows the reader that only with the freedom to choose do a person's actions become meaningful and sincere.... [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
1562 words (4.5 pages)
- Humanity's Fall in Paradise Lost The original sin that led to humanity's fall in the Garden of Eden is by far the worst sin committed by humankind. It is this sin that led to future sins. This original sin must be emphasized by writers to depict the evil involved in it. In writing Paradise Lost, John Milton recognizes this fact and uses a variety of literary techniques to stress the evil in the story over the good. The techniques used include a series of parallels with the parallel between good and evil being first and foremost as well, as symmetry to keep the poem in balance. Paradise Lost is a poem essentially about the origin of sin and evil, as a result... [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
1194 words (3.4 pages)
- The Rape of Proserpina and Eve's Fall in Milton's Paradise Lost "She pluck'd, she eat" (PL IX.781). With these four monosyllables, Milton succinctly announces the Fall of Eve in Paradise Lost. Eve's Fall, however, is far more complex than a simple act of eating, for her disobedience represents a much greater loss of chastity. Indeed, Milton implies that the Fall is a violation not only of God's sole commandment but also of Eve herself, for Milton implicitly equates Dis's ravishment of Proserpina with Satan's seduction of Eve.... [tags: Paradise Lost Essays]
3723 words (10.6 pages)
- How would you react if you realized you had altered the future of an entire people. Would you be sympathetic or apologetic. Would you be regretful or sincere. I believe that the reaction of a person in such a situation gives insight into their quality of character and shows us the real extent of their influence over their surroundings and beyond. John Milton’s Adam in Paradise Lost altered the future for mankind just as Margaret Cavendish’s Empress of the Blazing World altered the future for the inhabitants of the Blazing World.... [tags: Paradise lost Blazing World]
3548 words (10.1 pages)