A Heroic Satan In Milton's Paradise Lost

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A Heroic Satan (An Analysis of Satan’s Behavior and Heroic Elements in Milton’s, Paradise Lost) If Milton’s, Paradise Lost is an epic, then who is the epic hero? This is a question addressed by manys scholars throughout their engagement of study in this piece of literature. In all of life, it is most often taught that Satan is an evil figure, leading numerous beings astray from the path they should be taking. Religious priests and leaders preach of his terrible deeds and attempts to tempt humans throughout their lives. How then, could he possibly be considered a hero in this book if he is clearly mischievous and villainous in his evil doings? This is an ongoing debate still today. Many argue that Satan is not the hero of this great literary…show more content…
Feeney describes these basics by saying, “The Epic Hero...guarantees the unity of an epic poem and directs our scrutiny when we search for theme” (Feeney 137). It is described here that the hero of an epic contributes to the overall structure of the epic, and without this character, the epic would lack elements contributing to theme and many other literary devices. Satan is central to the overall development of Milton’s Paradise Lost as he is the driving force of action that is happening. He is the character who commits to go on an epic journey and, knowing that it will be difficult states, “Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light” (Milton 432-433). He commits himself to the long journey that it will take to travel back to Heaven and hopefully gain revenge against God, who outcast him down to the depths of Hell. Many critics downplay the simple fact that Satan decided to set out on this epic journey, and discussions often arise about “when readers are so conscious of Satan’s absurdities that they forget his cunning and his power” (Steadman 253). Readers are so caught up in their past teaching and beliefs that Satan is inherently evil that they forget all of the basic traits of an epic hero that he legitimately
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