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Paradise Lost - What Do We Learn About Satan's Character from Line 84 To Line 191?

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  • Essay length: 1094 words
  • Submitted: 10/11/2004
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University Degree Milton

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Question: What Do We Learn About Satan's Character from Line 84

To Line 191?

Milton's portrait of Satan has fascinated critics since Paradise Losts first publication, leading some in the romantic period to claim that Satan is, in fact, the heroic protagonist of the whole work. Certainly Milton's description of Satan has greatly influenced the devil's image in western art and literature since the book's publication.

From lines 84 to 191 in Paradise Lost Book 1, we are introduced to the character of Satan, who has just been hurled from heaven, 'because he trusted to have equalled the Most High'. As a reader, one first meets a stunned Satan, chained down to the fiery lake of hell, surrounded by his co-conspirators. From lines 84 to 127, where Satan is speaking to his good friend, 'Beelzebub', Milton presents him as being nostalgic about heaven, 'Myriads, though bright...' - something one sees significantly for the first and last time throughout the poem. Satan's great yearning for heaven is brief, and when finally suppressed, Milton offers a fine and revealing example of Satan's rhetoric and quick-moving contradictions, as he instantly expresses excuses for his failure. Firstly, he declares

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