Satan, Milton's Anti-Hero

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 50
  • Published : May 27, 2013
Open Document

Text Preview
Satan, Milton’s Anti-hero

Milton’s written piece Paradise Lost has been one of his most famous literary works which has been studied for generations since it is considered a fine and magnificent piece of English classical literature. Professor John Sutherland, Ph.D. and UCL Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London, in his lecture Paradise Lost—A New Language for Poetry, stated that although Paradise Lost is an epic poem, one can find a touch of drama in the best speeches of the poem, those of Satan. In his work, Milton represents the events of the Creation and the Fall of Man, but he focuses more on Satan’s actions rather than on those of or Adam and Eve. In trying to make his poem sound more tragic, assuming that that was his intention, Milton consciously placed Satan at the centre of the poem, making him the hero, or more accurately, the anti-hero, and turning Satan into a metaphor for the ultimate sinner. In all epic poems, the hero is placed at the center of reader’s attention, and Milton places his readers’ interests in Satan’s actions. Satan’s speeches take over most of the work’s space mainly in Books I and II, leaving the impression that he is the most important character in the poem, and demonstrating his power of persuasion and subtlety by commanding and rousing his troops to action. His influence is also perceived in Eve’s temptation. He persuades Eve to eat the apple although she knows it is a sinful action. At the same time, this “hero” conveys certain elements of the classical tragedy, his tragic fate. Satan’s desire to destroy Adam and Eve results in his own destruction. He has a main flow: he never recognizes his limitations: God is the creator, he is overpowerful, nobody can neither reduce nor exceed his power, and this negligence is what finally destroys him. Milton reversed the epic conventions in order to convey his own insight of the Christian conception. He gave Satan the position of...