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Glenforest Secondary School


Extended Essay

Speak of the Devil


TowhatextentdidJohnMiltonintendSatantobetheheroofParadiseLost?

Yixi Kevin Ren


002203-0084
English
Word Count: 3629

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Abstract:
JohnMiltonsParadiseLostisanepicpoemthatromanticizestheBiblicalstoryofthe
angelicwarsandthefallofman.MiltonsheroicportrayalofSatanhasintriguedaudiencesfor
generations,asitseverelycontradictstheChristianidealsoftheday.HowcanSatan,the
embodimentofpureevil,beahero?Hisdepictioncreatesaninterestingmoraldilemmaforhis
audience,whofindthemselvesgrowingfrightfullyfondofthearchfiend.Towhatextentdid
MiltonintendSatantobetheheroofParadiseLost?Throughexploringelementsofthetext
likethenatureofSatanscharacter,satire,symbolism,andhistoricalcontext,weseethat
althoughSatanistheprotagonistofMiltonswork,heisultimatelynotthetruehero.
ThepurposeofthisinvestigationistoexamineMiltonsSatan,anddrawconclusions
regardingMiltonsintentforthischaracter.Toanswertheresearchquestion,indepthanalysisof
theprimarytextwasrequired.ThoughanalysisofSatanscharacterwasmandatory,exploration
ofMiltonsGodisalsopresenttoprovidecontrasttohisSatan,highlightingthecharacters
fraudulentandvillainousnature.Consultationofsecondarysourcesintheformofprintbooks
anddatabasearticleswasalsoneeded.ThisallowedforabetterunderstandingofMiltons
historicalcontext,namelyhisChristianupbringing,andthepoliticssurroundingtherestoration
oftheEnglishmonarchy.Thesecondarysourcesalsoprovidedavastarrayofdifferent
professionalperspectivesonthequestion,filteredthroughthehistorical,cultural,andreligious
lensofMiltonsday.
Throughexploringtheresearchquestion,IcanconcludethatMiltondidnotintendhis
SatantobethetrueheroofParadiseLost,asdemonstratedbythecontrastbetweenSatans

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actionsandmotivations,thepresenceofsatireandparody,theuseofallegoryandsymbolism,
andMiltonsjustificationsofthewaysofGod.
AbstractWordCount:299
ResearchQuestion:TowhatextentdidMiltonintendSatantobetheheroofParadiseLost?
Thesis:AlthoughSatanistheprotagonistofMiltonswork,heisultimatelynotthetruehero.
ThisisdemonstratedbythecontrastbetweenSatansactionsandmotivations,thepresenceof
satireandparody,theuseofallegoryandsymbolism,andMiltonsjustificationsofthewaysof
God.

Table of Contents
I.
Introduction....1
II.

The Two-Faced

Devil.2
III.

Satire and Parody.

.5
IV.

Allegory and

Symbolism.......8
V.

A Justified Ruler...

....9
VI.

Conclusion...

.11

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VII.

Works

Cited.13

I.Introduction
ThereasonMiltonwroteinfetterswhenhewroteofAngelsandGod,andatliberty
whenofDevilsandHell,isbecausehewasatruepoet,andoftheDevilspartywithoutknowing
it.ThissharpcommentbyBritishpainterandpoetWilliamBlakeprovokedgenerationsof
literarydebateregardingthecharacterofSataninJohnMiltonsepicpoem,ParadiseLost.Inhis
captivatingfreeverse,MiltonromanticizestheChristianstoryoftheangelicwarsinheavenand
thefallofman,consistentlyemphasizingtothereaderofthedarker,evil,andmorehorribleside
ofthehumansoul.Althoughhewasfullyblindatthetimeofitscomposition,ParadiseLost
cementedMiltonasaleadingfigureamongsteighteenthandnineteenthcenturyRomanticpoets
andartists,continuingtofascinateandinspiremodernaudiences(Sanna,26).Perhapsthemost

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intriguingcharacterinthepoemisSatan,orLucifer.TowhatextentdidMiltonintendSatan
tobetheheroofParadiseLost?Oncethemostbeautifulofallangelsinheaven,Satanis
introducedinmediasres,hurledintohellafterbeingdefeatedbyGodalongwithhislegionsof
fallenangels(Milton,1.3771).ManyliterarycriticsarguethatMiltonmayhaveunconsciously
sympathizedwithSatan,andthereforeintendedhimtobetheheroofhiswork.Atthetime,
Miltonwasgoingthrougharoughperiodofhislife,ashehadjustwitnessedthe
ParliamentariansfailuretousurptherulingEnglishRoyalists,muchlikehowSatanfailed
againstGod(SchmoopEditorialTeam).Havingnarrowlyescapedexecution,Miltonspenttwo
monthsinprisonbeforebeingreleasedafiftytwoyearsold,blind,andasocialandpolitical
outcast(Beer,291).However,oneshouldbecarefulwhenidentifyingMiltonwithSatan,ashe
wasadevoutChristianhisentirelife,offeringhispoetrytoGodandcountry(Sanna,8).
Naturally,thisisreflectedinhiswork,asthereexistsamuchdeepermessageandpurposethan
simplytopaintSatanasahero.AlthoughSatanistheprotagonistofMiltonswork,heis
ultimatelynotthetruehero.ThisisdemonstratedbythecontrastbetweenSatansactionsand
motivations,thepresenceofsatireandparody,theuseofallegoryandsymbolism,andMiltons
justificationsofthewaysofGod.
II.TheTwoFacedDevil
MiltonsdepictionofSatancommunicateshisownsocialcommentary,condemningthe
monarchyofCharlesIandIIascivilidolatry(Lewalski,16).Onthesurface,thoughSatans
actionsappearheroicandselfsacrificial,underneath,hismotivationsareneverthelesseviland
selfserving.Thestorieshetellsandthespeecheshedeliversareappealing,seductive,and

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anythingbutstraightforward.Miltonfirstusescontrastandjuxtapositiontooutlinethe
differencesbetweenGod,mankind,andSatan.BookIbegins;
OfMansfirstdisobedience,andthefruit
Ofthatforbiddentreewhosemortaltaste
Broughtdeathintotheworld,andallourwoe
(Milton,1.13).
Here,Miltonimmediatelypresentsmankindasfullofsinandmortality,bringingdeathand
allourwoeuponthemselves,ruiningtheperfectworldthatGodcreated.Likewise,inthenext
lines,WithlossofEden,tillonegreaterMan/Restoreus,andregaintheblissfulseat(Milton,
1.45),MiltoncriticizestheascensionofCharlesIItothethrone,whichwashailedbymanyto
bethestartofaneweraandGoldenage.WhilefellowpoetJohnDrydencelebratedthe
Restorationofthemonarchy,likeningCharlesIItoGreatAugustusThrone(3201),Milton
maintainsthatthetruerestorationwouldnotbebroughtbyanEnglishAugustus,butrathera
divinesavior,capableandwillingtorestoremankind(Lewalski,156).Indoingso,Milton
providesstarkcontrastbetweentheperfectionofGodandtheflawsofmankind,depictingGod
asthetruerestorer.AdescriptionofSatanisalsooffered,allowingfurthercomparisontobe
made.
Theinfernalserpent;heitwaswhoseguile
Stirredupwithenvyandrevenge,deceived
Themotherofmankind,whattimehispride
Hadcasthimoutfromheaven,withallhishost
(Milton,1.347)
UnlikethegreaterMan,Satanisdescribedhereasaninsidiousandcunningindividual,sofull
ofevilintentthathedeceived/Themotherofmankindasameansofnursinghisown
arrogance.MiltonprovidescontrastbetweenthemotivesofSatanandGod,highlightingthe

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immoralityofSatanstrueintent.Clearly,Satanisportrayedasthevillainhere.Lateron,another
descriptionportraysSatanasmanipulativeandfraudulent.
Him,haplyslumberingontheNorwayfoam,
Thepilotofsomesmallnightfounderedskiff,
Deemingsomeisland,oft,asseamentell,
Withfixedanchorinhissideunderthelee,whilenight
Investsthesea,andwishdmorndelays
Sostretchedouthugeinlengththearchfiendlay
(Milton,1.2039)
Miltonemploysanepicsimilehere,comparingSatanstoweringstaturetowhatasailormight
mistakeforanisland.ThecomparisonhereexhibitsthecontrastbetweenSatansactionsandhis
truemotivations.Whileheappearstobeasafehaven,anislandforasailor,heisinrealityan
archfiend,anembodimentofpureevil.MiltonsmessagehereisthatwhileSatanappearsto
beonething,heisactuallyanother.Next,afterlamentingoverhisdefeat,Satanrallieshistroops,
deliveringamotivationalspeech.
AndthenceinheavencalledSatan,withboldwords
Breakingthehorridsilence,thusbegan
(Milton,1.823)
Allisnotlosttheunconquerablewill,
Andstudyofrevenge,immortalhate,
Andcouragenevertosubmitoryield
(Milton,1.1069)
Here,Satanisnotunlikeagreatgeneral,rallyinghistroopsafterdefeat,exhibitinghis
charismaticpersonality.AlthoughMiltonsuseofdictionpaintsSatanasabravehero,he
condemnshimasavillainonadeeperlevel.Thewordhorridindicatesthegrotesqueand
painfulnatureofhell,whilebolddepictsSatanasdaringandcourageous,capableofrescuing
hiscomradesfromtheirsuffering.However,asheroicasMiltonportraysSatan,weseethathis
intentionsareevil.Eveninutterdefeat,insteadoftellinghistroopstorepent,heencourages

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themtocontinuerebellingagainstGod.Hemaskshisownselfishdesiresofrulingheavenby
sugarcoatinghistroopsandhimselfasheroes.Forinstance,theuseofrepetitionandalliteration
inlines1069helpsemphasizeSatanspoint,addingaheroicgrandioseofthespeech.Wesee
thatwhileMiltonmoldsSatanasthetragicheroPrometheus,infinitelyperseverant,possessing
anunconquerablewill,andcouragetoneversubmitoryield,hiscondemnationofSatanis
stillevident.WhilePrometheuswaspunishedforbringingthegiftoffiretomankind,Satan
seekstobringthemdeathandmisery(Lewalski,14).ConversationbetweenSatanandhis
lieutenantsensues,wherehestates,
Forwhocanyetbelieve,thoughafterloss,
Thatallthesepuissantlegions,whoseexile
Hathemptiedheaven,shallfailtoreascend,
Selfraised,andrepossesstheirnativeseat?
(Milton,1.6314)
Satanisstillabsolutelybaffledathisdefeat,thinkinghighlyofhisownarmyandhimself.He
hasnodoubtthathewillretakeheaven,hisnativeseat.Hisarroganceisdemonstratedashe
greatlyexaggerateshisownpower,referringtohislegionsaspuissant,anddeclaringthattheir
exileHathemptiedheaven,wheninreality,onlyathirdoftheangelswereexiled.Itisclear
herethatSatansboldwords,thoughheroic,areactuallyafaadetonursehisownego.He
almostseemslikeachild,lyingtohimselftofeelbetter.Satansmanipulativenatureand
immoralmotivationsareagaindemonstratedinBookV,whenheappearsinEvesdream.
Here,happycreature,fairangelicEve!
Partakethoualso.Happythoughthouart,
Happierthoumayestbe;worthiercanstnotbe.
Tastethisandbehenceforthamongthegods
Thyselfagoddess,nottoearthconfined
Ascendtoheaven,bymeritthine,andsee
Whatlifethegodslivethere,andsuchlivethou!
(Milton,5.7480)

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Satan,beingarrogantandgreedyhimself,appealstotheprideandgreedofEve.HeflattersEve
bycomplimentingherbeautyandworthiness,andalthoughEveisalreadycontent,heoffersher
more,sayingthatshecanalwaysbehappier.HealsopresentstheillusionthatEvecantranscend
intodivinity,becomingagoddess,aslongasshecantastethis,anddisobeyGodbyeating
thefruitfromtheforbiddentree.Satansfraudulenceisagaindemonstratedhere.Despite
seeminglyactingforEvesbenefit,SatanissimplytryingtoexactrevengeonGod,imposinghis
ownsufferinganddemiseontomankind.MiltonsmessagehereisthatEve,andperhapsallof
mankind,verymuchresembleSatan,asbothpossessthesameflawsthatultimatelyleadstotheir
demises.
III.SatireandParody
InBookII,thefallenangels,nowdevils,sitincouncil,anddebateregardingtheirnext
courseofaction.Throughouthislife,Miltonwitnessedthefailureofarevolution,andagreat
dealofhumancorruption(Heims,35).ThedebateinHellisMiltonssatiricalparodytoareal
lifepoliticaldebate,adeviceheusestomockSatanandcondemnhimvillain.Miltons
condemnationofSatanisfirstevidentthroughhisuseofsarcasm.BookIIcommencesby
describingSatanasHighonathroneofroyalstateSatanexaltedsat,bymeritraised(Milton,
2.15).Here,Miltonsdescriptionisdrippingwithsarcasm,almosttothepointofmockery.We
seethatMiltondepictsSatanasapseudoGod,assumingthethroneofHelllikeGoddoesof
Heaven.Heisportrayedasaroyalanddignifiedking,bymeritraised,wheninreality,heisa
wickedanddishonorabletyrant.MiltonfurthercondemnsSatanwithanotherburstofsarcasm.
Satandeclares,
Ofpresentpain,thatwithambitiousmind

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Willcovetmore.Withthisadvantagethen
Tounion,andfirmfaith,andfirmaccord,
Morethancanbeinheaven,wenowreturn
Toclaimourjustinheritanceofold
(Milton,2.348).
Satansdeceptionhereisevident.Throughusingthewordsunion,firmfaith,firmaccord,he
portraysHellasanorganized,rightful,diplomaticstate,whenthetruthistheyareweak,
disorganized,andillegitimate.Inaddition,bydescribingheavenastheirjustinheritanceof
old,SatanimpliesthatHeavenisrightfullyhis,asifitwasunjustlytakenfromhim.This
illustratesSatansvillainousnature,ashisrealintentionissimplytocreatefrictionamongsthis
peerssothathecaneventuallywinthedebateandexacthisownselfishplans.Miltoncontinues
toemploysatireandparodyasameansofmockery.Afteralengthydebateamongstthedevils,
BeelzebubdeliversSatansproposition,soseducingthathePleasedhighlythoseinfernalstates,
andjoy/Sparkledinalltheireyes.Withfullassent/Theyvote(Milton,2.3879).His
propositionistocorruptGodsnewcreationofmankind,
TowasteHiswholecreation,orpossess
Allasourown,anddrive,asweredriven,
Thepunyinhabitants,Orifnotdrive
Seducethemtoourparty,thattheirGod
Mayprovetheirfoe
(Milton,2.3659).
AlthoughitisBeelzebubsdialogue,itisreallySatanspeaking,asthenotionofcorrupting
mankindwashisinitialidea,firstdevised/BySatan,andinpartproposed(Milton2.37980).
ByreferringtoAdamandEveaspunyinhabitants,Satandehumanizesthem,portrayingthem
asinsignificantinsects.Furthermore,therepetitionontheworddriveimpliesenslaving
humanity,bringingthemdowntoSatanslevel,drive,asweredriven.Satansvillainyshines
throughhere,asitisclearthatSatanintendstobringthesamedeathandmiseryhesufferedonto

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humanity.ImmediatelyafterdeliveringSatansproposition,Beelzebubasks,Butfirst,whom
shallwesend/Insearchofthisnewworld(Milton,2.4023).Beelezbubsquestionhereis
deliveredalmostoncue,andthoughpresentedinnocently,itsoundsrehearsed.Whileallthe
otherdevilssitquietlyinfear,Satan,againalmostoncue,immediatelyvolunteers.Bystating
Longistheway/Andhard,thatoutofhellleadsuptolight(Milton,2.4323).Satan
emphasizesthedifficultyofhisjourney,againpaintinghimselfasaheroamongsthispeers.His
deceitfulnessisdemonstratedhere,asitisclearthatSatanintendedallalongforthedevilsto
debate,sothathecouldeventuallyenteranddistinguishhimselfamongsthispeersthroughhis
stagedheroism.MiltonsmockeryofSatanisevident,ashelltriestoimitateheaven.Because
Satanofferstosacrificehimselfforthegoodofhispeers,MiltonforgesSatanasagnarledphony
ofChrist,who,lateron,offerstosacrificehimselfformankind.Evidently,MiltonintendedSatan
tobevillainhere,asunlikeChrist,Satansactionsareloadedwithulteriormotives.The
comparabilitybetweenSatanandChristismadeevenmoreoutrightwhenSatan,describedas
theadversaryofGodandManapproachesthegatesofhell,wherehemeetsSinandDeath.As
heisabouttofightwithDeath,Sincriesout,Ofather,whatintendsthyhandsAgainstthy
onlyson?(Milton,2.7278).ThroughusingthecharacterofSintostopSatan,herfather,
fromharmingheronlyson,Miltondoestwothings;mockinglyportraySatanasafalse
imitationofGod,andportrayChrist,Godsonlyson,asthetrueheroofthestory,sincehewill
eventuallysacrificehimselftosavemankindfromSatan.
IV.AllegoryandSymbolism

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Throughouttheentiretyofthework,Miltonemploysmanyallegoriesandsymbolisms.
AnexampleisSatansconfrontationwithSinandDeathatthegatesofhell.Sin,beingthefirst
childofSatan,tellshim,
OutofthyheadIspring.Amazementseized
Allthehostofheaven.Backtheyrecoiledafraid
Atfirst,andcalledmeSin,andforasign
Portentousheldme.Butfamiliargrown,
Ipleased,andwithattractivegraceswon
Themostaversetheechiefly,who,fulloft
Thyselfinmethyperfectimageviewing,
Becameenamored,Andsuchjoythoutookst
Withmeinsecretthatmywombconceived
Agrowingburden
(Milton2.75866)
MiltonpresentsloathsomeportraitsofSinandDeath,lestreadersbeseducedbySatan's
personandeloquenceandforgetwhatevilreallyis(Miller).BecauseofSatansinitial
maliciousthoughtsagainstGod,Sinisbornoutofhishead.Miltonsmessagehereisthatthe
defianceofGodistherootofallsin,asinthecaseofSatan,sinliterallyformsinhisheadafter
histhoughtsofinsubordination.MiltonusesthecharacterofSinasanallegory,warninghis
audienceoftheallureandseductivenessofevil.Throughusingthewordrecoiled,Milton
depictsSinasfirstbeingdisgustingandfearful,havingarepellingeffectontheangels.However,
Sin,withherattractivegracesisquicklyabletoseduceSatan.Theuseofthewordwon
highlightsthesheerallureandpowerthatevilcanhave,asitimpliesthatevenLucifer,themost
powerfulangel,failedtoresistSinstemptation.Asaresult,weseethatSatanbecame
enamored,rapinghisowndaughter(Sims).ThroughhisdialoguewithSin,Miltonexposes
Satansfoulandsordiddeeds.TheaudiencebecomesdisgustedatSatansincest,hisliterallust
forevil,andforgetsthegrandeurandeloquenceofhissupposedheroisminBookI.Furthermore,

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throughdepictingSinasachild,andlaterasafairwoman,albeitwiththelowerhalfofa
serpent,Miltonhumanizesanabstractconcept.Throughdoingthis,Miltonaddsmoreweightto
theseriousnessofSatanstransgression,furtherhighlightinghisvillainy.Thereadercannothelp
butpitySinandchargeSatanforhisimmoralcrime.
V.AJustifiedRuler
AcommoncriticismagainstMiltonsGodisthatheseemsdistantanduninteresting,
while,ontheotherhand,Sataniseasilyrelatedto,andpresentedonamuchmorehumanlevel.
Thispresentsaninterestingmoraldilemmafortheaudience,whofindsthemselvesgrowing
fondlyof,thenalmostrootingforSatan,supposedlytheembodimentofpureevil,whileatthe
sametime,rejectingGod,supposedlytheembodimentofvirtueandpurity.However,BookIII
exemplifiestheoriginalpurposeofMiltonswork,whichistojustifythewaysofGodtomen
(Milton,1.26).Afteragainconjuringhisholymuse,Miltonshiftsthescenefromhelltoheaven,
FromthepureempyreanwhereHesits
Highthronedaboveallheight,bentdownHiseye
andfromHissightreceived
Beatitudepastutterance
(Milton,3.5662).
UnlikethesatiricalmockeryMiltonusestodescribeSatanandhishell,thetonehereisvery
serious and sincere. Through using diction like empyrean and high throned, Milton
immediatelypresentsGodastheomnipotent,allknowing,infinitelygoodentityfromtheBible.
Also, by juxtaposing Gods beatitude past utterance, and Satans rage and desperate
revenge, Milton provides contrast between the morality of the two characters, evidently
portrayingGodasthefamiliargracefuldeityfromtheBible.Godstatesthathisadversaryhas
nobounds,andthatnobarsofhell,norallthechains/Heapedonhimthere,noryetthe

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mainabysscanhold;sobentheseems/Ondesperaterevenge(Milton,3.825).Atthis
point,Satanisshownassounstoppablydeterminedtoexacthisrevenge,thatnotevenallthe
mechanismsofhellcanpreventhim.However,bydescribinghisrevengeasdesperate,Milton
addsahintofmockery,implyingSatanandhisactionsaspathetic.Thisalsoforeshadowshow
Satanwillultimatelyfail,agreeingwiththeeventsdepictedintheBible.Adjoining,Godspeaks
totheSonregardingmankind,specificallyAdam.
Heandhisfaithlessprogeny.Whosefault?
Whosebuthisown?Ingrate,hehadofme
Allhecouldhave.Imadehimjustandright,
Sufficienttohavestood,thoughfreetofall.
(Milton,3.969)
MiltonjustifiesGodsmoralityhere,clearinghimoffaultfortheoriginalsin,asMiltonhimself
didnotbelieveinpredestinationorfate.HemakestheargumentthateventhoughGodcreated
Mansufficienttohavestood,Manisstillfreetofall,possessingfreewill,havingtheability
tomakedecisionsforthemselves.AlthoughGodcanforeseefutureevents,hedoesnotcontrolor
influencethem,thereforetheoriginalsinisaresultofMansowndecision,andthefaultisnone
buthisown.Godcontinuesbysaying,Notfree,whatproofcouldtheyhavegivensincere/
Oftrueallegiance,constantfaithorlove(Milton,3.1034).ThroughthecharacterofGod,
MiltonarguesthatalthoughgivingManfreewilldidcausetheoriginalsin,itwasanecessity,
becausewithoutit,Manwouldbeuselessandvain,notbeingcapableoftrueallegianceand
sincerelove.AlthoughGodsspeechesarenotnearlyasappealingandemotionallychargedas
theseductiveSatans,becauseofMiltonsuseoflogos,thereadercannotfindanyfaultwith
God.Astheconversationinheavencontinues,MiltonsjustificationofGodsactionsisagain
demonstrated.TheSon,thoughfullofpraiseandcompassionforGod,askshowforgivenesswill

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begiventoManwithoutjustice.Godreplies,Hewithhiswholeposterity,mustdieUnlessfor
him/Someotherable,andaswilling,pay/deathfordeath(Milton,3.20912).Here,Godcan
beseenasusingtoughlove.AlthoughheelectstoforgiveMan,hedoesnotsparethemjustice.
However,thefactthatGodofferstoallowanothertakeManspunishmentshowstheextentof
hisloveforMan.Whilealltheheavenlyquirestoodmute(Milton,3.217),justasthedevilsin
helldid,theSonimmediatelyvolunteershimself,justasSatandid,Beholdmethen.Mefor
him,lifeforlife/Ioffer.Onmeletthineangerfall./AccountmeMan(Milton,3.2368).The
repetitionofthewordmeinthislinedrawsattentiontotheselfsacrificialmessageoftheSon.
WeseethatwhileSatan,whovolunteersfullofperverseulteriormotives,theSonvolunteersto
sacrificehimselfwillingly,andwithpureintentions,sothatManshallfindgrace.WhileSatan
glorifieshissacrificeinfrontofhispeerswithseductivelanguagetoearntheirsubordination,the
Sonsuseoflanguageisverydirectandstraightforward,Meforhim,lifeforlifeAccountme
Man.WhileSatanseekstocorruptMan,theSonseekstosaveandredeemhim.Again,the
readercannotdisputeMiltonslogicandjustification,whichclearlyintendedtoportraytheSon
astheultimateherohere.
VI.Conclusion
Inclosing,whileexaminingtheresearchquestion:TowhatextentdidMiltonintend
SatantobetheheroofParadiseLost?,itisclearthatdespitethefactthatthecharacterofSatan
inJohnMiltonsParadiseLostischarming,alluring,andthemostlikeable,heisultimately
notthetrueherooftheepic.ThisisillustratedbythecontrastbetweenSatansactionsand
motivations,Miltonsemploymentofsatireandparody,Miltonsuseofallegoryandsymbolism,
andhisjustificationsofthereasoningandmoralityofGod.Aswithallgreatwritersandartists,

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Miltonsownliterarygeniussparkedmanydifferentinterpretationsofhiswork,whichledto
hundredsofyearsofscholarlydebatethatcontinueseventoday.Lookingatthebigpicture,
perhapsMiltonintendedtheentiretyofParadiseLosttobeametaphorforlifeitself.Every
human,nomatterhowcorruptandimmoral,istheheroofhisownstory.ThoughGodmayseem
distantinthisstory,heisforeverbendingdownhiseye,watchingover,justashewatchesover
Satan.PerhapsthereasonMiltonwroteatlibertywhenofDevilsandHellandinfetterswhenof
AngelsandGodwasbecausehewasatruepoet,andwantedtotellhisaudiencethatthoughsin
mayseemliberating,we,ashumans,areforeverboundtokindnessandvirtue.

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Works Cited
Beer, Anna R. "Defeat." Milton: Poet, Pamphleteer, and Patriot. New York, NY: Bloomsbury,
2008. 291-311. Print.
Heims, Neil. "Milton: An Introduction." John Milton. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2003. 35-40.
Print.
Lewalski, Barbara K. "Genre." A Companion to Milton. Carlton: Blackwell, 2003. 14-16. Print.
Miller,TimothyC."ParadiseLost:Overview."ReferenceGuidetoEnglishLiterature.Ed.D.L.
Kirkpatrick.2nded.Chicago:St.JamesPress,1991.LiteratureResourceCenter.
Web.6Dec.2014.
Milton, John. Paradise Lost. London: Arcturus, 2005. Print.
Sanna, Ellyn. "Biography of John Milton." John Milton. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2003. 826. Print.
Shmoop Editorial Team. "Paradise Lost." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008.
Web. 18 Aug. 2014. <http://www.shmoop.com/paradise-lost/>.
Sims, Beth. "THE CHARACTERS OF PARADISE LOST." Darkness Visible. Christ's College,
n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.
<http://darknessvisible.christs.cam.ac.uk/characters/sin_and_death.html>.

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