• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'It is possible to defend the idea that Satan is the true hero of Paradise Lost'. How far do you agree with this view in relation to Books IX and X?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'It is possible to defend the idea that Satan is the true hero of Paradise Lost'. How far do you agree with this view in relation to Books IX and X? 'Milton began by making Satan more glorious than he intended and then, too late, attempted to rectify the error.' - C.S. Lewis. In his Christian Doctrine, Milton forms a cohesive picture of Satan, the conclusion being that Satan is viewed as the root of all evil. He is a Freudian expression of man's super-ego - the subordinate part of the psyche - for example, when he uses the word 'spite', thereby attributing emotions to God. From Book IX, Satan starts to degenerate as a character; he is unable to make his thoughts logical in his speech, i.e. referring to Earth as 'how like to heaven'. He presents himself as unlike a hero: his ability to think appears weak and confused ('so much more I feel torment within me'), rather like a delusional psychopath ['What we see in Satan is the horrible co-existence of a subtle and incessant intellectual activity with an incapacity to understand anything' - C.S. ...read more.

Middle

His sycophantic words are those of a courtly lover addressing his 'sovereign mistress'. Eve refers to the fact that the serpent speaks as a 'miracle', which is ironic because miracles normally refer to God. 'The wily snake' maintains the careful flattery and deceptive slyness ('empress', 'resplendent'). He misleads Eve like an ignis fatuus; Milton calls this effect a 'wandering fire'. Similar to his soliloquy, Satan refers to the contrast between high and low and Heaven and Hell, which is a clever argument, because by that logic the Tree of Knowledge is good ('could not reach'). Moreover, he associates the tree with reason rather than passion ('sacred', 'wise', 'mother of science'). In addition, he appeals to senses and appetite - base pleasures - and the temptation works ('sharp desire', 'hunger', 'thirst') as well as to Eve's intelligence and mind ('inward powers'). With the repetition of 'thy', the second person pronoun, convincing emphasis is put on her importance. Satan goes on to question the entire hierarchy ('I question it'), and uses a clever and subtle argument ('What can your knowledge hurt him, or this tree impart against his will if all be his?'), raising the important theological issue of free will. ...read more.

Conclusion

Upon giving his speech, he expects to hear applause, but instead hears a 'dismal universal hiss' because they undergo metamorphosis into 'complicated monsters'; i.e. they undergo physical transformations into serpents. Thus, Satan the supplanter is 'supplanted', and becomes a mere monster in God's epic at the moment that he is about to celebrate his heroic triumph in his own epic. The word 'hiss' uses onomatopoeia, and the reader can literally be thought of as hissing along with the snakes, which in turn gives the impression of scorn and contempt. Shortly afterwards, the grove of trees appears: the serpents feel an overwhelming desire to eat the fruit ('scalding thirst and hunger fierce'), appealing to 'hunger' and 'thirst' much like Satan's approach to tempting Eve before the Fall. There is irony in the use of the word 'sublime' because it is a heavenly emotion. To conclude, whereas Satan seemed somewhat 'glorious' and heroic in his rebellion, he seems to become a dangerous con man coming to believe his own lies. He has 'an incapacity to understand anything'; consequently, the concept of heroism cannot be stretched to include Satan's attitude and thinking as time progresses and he degenerates as a character. More profoundly, Satan and the rebel angels end their role in the epic totally defeated by the power of God. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Authors section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Authors essays

  1. Alice in Wonderland: A Comparison between the Novel by Lewis Carroll and the Film ...

    There is a very quick transition as Alice makes her way out of the hall to the actual Wonderland that lies behind that tiny door. The novel puts much more focus on the drama her dilemma to the point where Alice shrinks again after being very large to being small

  2. Compare and contrast Shakespeare and Defoe's presentations of the characters of Robinson Crusoe and ...

    considered even lower by his master, functioning to represent native cultures suppressed by European Imperialist societies. Prospero's abuse of Caliban leads to extreme paranoia. The spirit, upon noticing Trinculo, believes he is a "spirit" sent to "torment" him. He lies close to the ground, terrified that Trinculo might find him,

  1. How does Auden portray his grief and loss in Funeral Blues?

    The last line of the poem sums up how the poet felt about his lovers death "For nothing now can ever come to any good." This shows that he doesn't want to be on this earth. Auden wants the world to end.

  2. Frailty, thy name is woman(TM)(TM) A.C Bradley has judged Gertrude to be a weak ...

    Furthermore religious law banned marriage to a husband's brother which both Hamlet and the Ghost pursue later in the play. Hamlet focuses his attention on his mother's incestuous marriage and emphasises that Gertrude is her ''husband's brother's wife'' as does the Ghost in expressing his disgust towards the marriage, asking

  1. Sympathy for the betrayers and the betrayed. Cresseid and Madame Bovary are dissimilar ...

    In Heaney's translation he writes, 'your high estate is in decline and fall'. The is a reference to Edward Gibbon's work 'The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,' (1776) the literary allusion conveying the suddenness and inexplicability of Cresseid's physical decline.

  2. Wide Sargasso Sea-Explore how far you feel Antoinette is uncertain of her own identity

    Children seek to please their parents and they greatly admire them, so for Antoinette to be aware at such a young age about her mother's distaste for her, as Rhys writes, 'she pushed me away' is most likely terribly disheartening, and subsequently Antoinette struggles to outline what her identity is to her.

  1. Moll Flanders: From Innocence to Maturity

    After being married for the third time, Moll goes to Virginia with her husband and starts to live a happy and prosperous life. However, that does not last long as the secret is soon revealed that she has married her own half-brother.

  2. How Edgar Allan Poe creates horror in 'The Pit and the Pendulum'

    This theory is slightly hinted upon as the narrator described their eyes as ?ravenous? which suggests that they have eaten human before and recognize him as food. The narrator realises this is but one more of the many things here that could kill him.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work