Milton: Character of "Satan"

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Milton: Character of "Satan"

Post by Archer on Sun Jan 16, 2011 2:52 am

Satan occupies the most prominent position in the action of Paradise Lost. Though the main theme of the poem is the “Man’s first disobedience” yet it is the character of Satan which gives a touch of greatness to this epic. Al the poetic powers of Milton are shown on the delineation of the majestic personality of the enemy of God and Man, i.e. Satan.

As it is shown in Paradise Lost Book-I that the character of Satan is a blend of the noble and the ignoble, the exalted and the mean, the great and the low, therefore, it becomes difficult to declare him either a hero or a wholly villain.

In Paradise Lost Book-I we can hardly doubt his heroic qualities because this book fully exhibits his exemplary will-power, unsurpassable determination, unshakable confidence and unbelievable courage. However, the encyclopedia of religion removes some of the confusion from our minds regarding Satan’s character in the following words:

“Satan means the arch-enemy of men, the adversary of God and of Christianity, a rebel against God, a lost arch-angle.”

Milton also confirms the remarks and tells us that Satan is an archangel. When God declares the Holy Christ his viceroy, Satan refuses to accept God’s order because he himself is a confident for it, his false strength and pride leads him to revolt against God for the fulfillment of his lust for power but he and his army suffers a heavy defeat and throw headlong into the pit of hell.

Milton’s description of Satan’s huge physical dimension, the heavy arms he carries, his tower like personality and his gesture make him every inch a hero. In his first speech, Satan tells Beelzebub that he does not repent of what he did and that defeat has brought no change in him at all. He utters memorable lines:

“What though the field be lost?
All is not lost – the unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield.”

Actually he is not ready to bow before the will of God and is determined to wade and eternal war by force and will never compromise. He proudly calls himself the new possessor of the profoundest hell and foolishly claims to have a mind never to be changed by force or time. As he says:

“The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”

Although Satan undergoes perpetual mental and physical torture in hell yet he is fully satisfied because he is at liberty to do whatever he likes, without any restriction. The following line clearly indicates his concept of freedom.

“Better to reign in Hell, the Serve in Heaven.”

It can be said without any doubt that Satan gives an evidence of great leadership qualities which are certainly worthy of an epic hero and Beelzebub appreciates him for his undaunted virtues as the commander of undaunted virtue as the commander of fallen angels. His speech to the fallen angels is a sole roof of his great leadership because it infuses a new spirit in the defeated angels who come out of the pit of hill with their swords and are ready to face any danger regardless of their crushing and humiliating defeat at the hands of God. We fully laud Satan’s views on the themes of honour, revenge and freedom, but we cannot help sympathizing him because he embodies evil. He is the embodiment of disobedience to God.

As the poem proceeds, the character of Satan degenerates and he fails to produce any impression to true heroism because he is morally a degraded figure. When we closely examine his addressed to his followers, we find that it is full of contradictions and absurdities, because he tries to throw dust into the eyes of his comrades. In fact, on the one hand, he says that they will provoke war against God and on the other hand, he wants peace which is only possible through submission. Then, on reaching the earth, he enters into a serpent and is completely degrades. Pride is the cause of his fall from Heaven – Pride that has ‘raised’ him to contend with the mightiest. But where is that pride when the Archangel enters into the mouth of a sleeping serpent and hides himself in its “Mazy folds”. Here from the grand figure that he is in the beginning, he degenerates into a man and cunning fellow, and then he tries to tempt Eve by guile. So, Satan degenerates from the role of a brave hero to that of a cunning villain as C. S. Lewis remarks:

“From hero to general, from general to politician, from politician to secret service agent, and thence to a thing that peers in at bed-room or bath-room window and thence toad, and finally to a snake – such is the progress of Satan.”

So, it can easily be said in the light of above mentioned facts that Satan is out and pouter hero in Book-I of Paradise Lost, but in Book-IX he appears before us every inch a villain because of his evil design and he himself says that his chief pleasure lies in the destruction of mankind which lowers him in our estimation as a hero.
avatar
Archer
Free Your Soul
Free Your Soul

Posts : 205
Join date : 2011-01-14
Age : 37

View user profile http://notes.englishboard.net

Back to top Go down

Re: Milton: Character of "Satan"

Post by qaisar waheed on Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:42 pm

the thumb-nail sketch of the whole discussion is that satan can never be called a hero of paradise lost. though he fulfills all the horoic characteristics yet his confession to find Eve alone strengthens the idea that inwardly he is afraid of Adam. He is well aware of the fact that in the presence of Adam, it would be a Herculean task to seduce and misguide Eve. that is why he is jovial and overjoyed not to find Adam with Eve and takes the advantage of Eve's folly.

qaisar waheed
Lecturer in English
Lecturer in English

Posts : 6
Join date : 2011-01-22
Age : 37
Location : warburton

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Heroism of Satan: Our biased attitude towards Satan

Post by muhammad_mussawar on Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:38 am

Everyone especially the Pakistanis comment that Satan is not a hero because he beguiles Eve when she was alone. There is a rule, my friend, that in war you can do anything but not immoral to be victorious. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) ordered his companions to throw big stones in a well at the battlefield of Badr, so that the non-believers might not drink water. What would you say about this act? Satan is hero in this sense that he has courage and determination.
Satan is the real monotheist. He refused to bow before the one who was not God.

muhammad_mussawar
 
 

Posts : 3
Join date : 2011-01-29
Age : 32
Location : Okara

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Milton: Character of "Satan"

Post by Archer on Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:44 am

muhammad_mussawar wrote:
Satan is the real monotheist. He refused to bow before the one who was not God.

Well Said.

But Satan becomes the real atheist the moment he refused the orders of God, the Creator.

avatar
Archer
Free Your Soul
Free Your Soul

Posts : 205
Join date : 2011-01-14
Age : 37

View user profile http://notes.englishboard.net

Back to top Go down

Re: Milton: Character of "Satan"

Post by qaisar waheed on Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:25 pm

@ mussawar

i may not regard your comments dear , satan himself admits to be afraid of Adam, the creation. how can you call him so corougeous to raise a battle against Allah. the battle he raised was nothing but an illusion he himself was the victim of.

qaisar waheed
Lecturer in English
Lecturer in English

Posts : 6
Join date : 2011-01-22
Age : 37
Location : warburton

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Defiance on the part of angles, Then why Satan????

Post by muhammad_mussawar on Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:26 pm

It's true that Satan defied God, but his defiance is the extreme of his attachment to God. It was not a mistake on his part, but a sentimental attitude for God. Did God give him any chance to reconsider what he was saying or tried to argument with him? While God had a conversation and gave arguments when the angles gave vent to their surprise when they came to knew that God was going to create Man. Is it not defiance? Did the angles not know that God had the perfect knowledge of what He was creating? Is it not defiance that they were suspicious of God's ability that He knows everything?

muhammad_mussawar
 
 

Posts : 3
Join date : 2011-01-29
Age : 32
Location : Okara

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Qaisar Waheed

Post by muhammad_mussawar on Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:37 pm

If Satan was afraid of the creation of Adam, is only this statement sufficient to prove that Satan is not hero or he is a coward? Had Adam not proved his own weakness when he defied God eating the Forbidden Fruit? I am not saying that Satan is the hero in the religious history. He is hero in Paradise Lost. You should see him only in the context of Paradise Lost and focus his enthusiasm and determination. Get rid of your Muslim identity while studying P.L. Literature, my friend, is always secular and lop sided.

muhammad_mussawar
 
 

Posts : 3
Join date : 2011-01-29
Age : 32
Location : Okara

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Milton: Character of "Satan"

Post by Archer on Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:46 am

@ muhammad_mussawar

I have no problem saying that satan is a hero of Milton' s Paradise Lost and thats it, but for that you have to be veryu argumentative.
Simply defiance or the so called heroic speeches are insufficient to call someone a hero.

To me the term hero is associated with the altruism, on the contrary satan is working agaisnt humanity and all the good prevails in this cosmos.

Yes!
you can say that he is the hero infact super hero of the demonics.

_________________
When the Character of a Man is Not Clear to You, Look at His friends
avatar
Archer
Free Your Soul
Free Your Soul

Posts : 205
Join date : 2011-01-14
Age : 37

View user profile http://notes.englishboard.net

Back to top Go down

Stature of Satan

Post by Jahanzeb on Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:15 am

Satan is shown as a gigantic supernatural being having a store of unending powers. His personality is enhanced with huge spear and shield, as big as tallest pine and Sun respectively. The reason lies in the fact that since God Himself is most Strong and Powerful, the qualities of his competitor had to be exaggerated to match the Powers of Almighty God to some extent.

Jahanzeb
Lecturer in English
Lecturer in English

Posts : 2
Join date : 2011-11-12
Age : 33
Location : Lahore

View user profile http://www.jahanzebmalik.webs.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Milton: Character of "Satan"

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum