Politically Fuelled Heroes Analysis

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Suzanne Howard
ENGL 200: Ancient-17th Century Literature
Dr. Marinova
December 4, 2015

Politically Fuelled Heroes

Heroes exist in every culture as an emblem of the best of society. Traditionally, heroes are used to set an example for the everyday citizen, if not to emulate then to inspire. These inspirational figures, and the authors who create them, have a huge influence on societal values. From Babylonian myths and Greek plays reinforcing gender roles to modern cinema defining social trends, those with a far reaching audience can sometimes influence political climates or even incite revolutionary ideas. This power an influential writer finds themselves with can be used to extremely different ends. Heroes found in works such as Virgil’s
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Milton presents Satan in a very human light, showing that despite his dramatic words, his “count 'nance cast… doubt” and he has insecurities like any human (Milton 526-527). This viewpoint is very contrary to his audience’s expectations of the devil, who more often is presented as a brutish being. His journey of self-awareness begins with the realization that the only thing that makes a place horrible is mindset, and the process of making his own “Heav 'n of Hell,” and to attempt to make “a Hell of Heav 'n” fulfills the traditional role of the hero finding their true purpose and their will to fulfill it (255). The significance of Satan’s realization that he is in Hell, defeated by his adversary, does not deter him. Like Aeneas, Satan’s journey to the underworld allowed him to realize his true purpose. Satan’s determination to continue fighting against “[God’s] utmost power” is futile, even “with [Satan’s] adverse power oppos 'd” because he is clearly outmatched (102-103). Milton does not question God’s dominance in terms of power, which serves to endear Satan to the British public. They can support the ideas Milton presents while still siding with God. Satan’s knowledge of his task’s futility makes his quest tragic, similar to Aeneas’s tragic death before the creation of
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