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How far do you agree with this judgment on Milton's handling of Satan in ParadiseLost I & II?
The first 200 words of this essay...
How far do you agree with this judgment on Milton's handling of Satan in Paradise Lost I & II?
Satan in Paradise Lost presents an unusual dichotomy; he is both the personification of cosmic malevolence and a pathetic character. As a theist who is resolved to "justify the ways of God to man", one assumes that Milton would not deliberately show Satan in a wholly sympathetic light. Indeed, Milton warns that humans are particularly attracted to Satan's "guile" and that he is ultimately a deluded fraud. Yet Satan's villainy is caused by his faults and his conflict as the "the Antagonist of Heav'n" contributes to both the plot and God's over-aching scheme. It seems counter-intuitive to suspend the ethical context of a theodicy, however, Satan's exploits could be described as tragically heroic.
As Milton engages in other conventions of classical epics such as epic similes and the invocation, one would assume that Paradise Lost has a hero of some kind. The protagonist, God, does not appear until the third book whilst Satan features prominently in the first two books. He is the first identifiable character which would gain the audiences sympathy in a traditional drama. He
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