Hero of Paradise Lost
John Milton introduces the reader to Satan in the first book of Paradise Lost. Satan is shown defeated in the Lake of Fire after rebelling against God in heaven. Satan rises from the lake and gives a heroic speech to his fallen angels. This displays Satan as a tragic hero, someone who is seen as great but is destined to fail. Satan tries to be the victor, but in the end Satan fails, and Christ is the true hero.
Satan is shown to have heroic qualities during the first two books of Paradise Lost. His first quality is that Satan is at the center of the beginning books of Paradise Lost. Sarker states this in his book “Milton,” when he says, “Milton has obviously lionized the character of Satan, particularly in the first three Books of the epic (Sarker 210).” This shows that Satan is the hero of Paradise Lost because Milton spends more time on him than any other character (Sarker 210,211).One quality of Satan is his strength. We can see his strength when he is fighting against the angels in the sixth book when Raphael recounts the battle against Satan. The angels could not beat Satan, and Jesus had to be sent against him (Milton 206). This shows that Satan had immense power, but also shows that Christ is more powerful than Satan (Milton 207). Other examples of his strength are in his conversation with Beelzebub. Beelzebub says to Satan that Satan “shook his throne (Milton14).” One must be very powerful and strong in order to disrupt God’s throne.
A third heroic quality of Satan is his perseverance. This is shown in the first book of the epic when he is speaking to one of his fallen angels. His perseverance is shown in lines 120-124. Satan has just fallen into Hell, yet he still says he wil…
…od at first has his angels fight against him, but when they could not defeat him, God sent His Son, and Christ threw Satan’s army out of heaven (Milton 207). Christ returns, and his angels joyously welcome him as the victor of the battle (Milton 209). This is different from Satan’s return to Hell after his victory against Satan. Satan’s welcome was more as a welcome from defeat rather than victory (Milton 323). This is one instance where Milton shows that Christ is the true hero of Paradise Lost rather than Satan.
When God heard of man’s disobedience, He looked to His Son, and His Son said he would go and judge Adam, Eve, and Satan (Milton 308). Christ judged fairly, and after judging them, clothed them outwardly and inwardly (Milton 312). This was Christ forgiving them for their sins (Milton 313). Only a true hero can forgive someone who has done them wrong.