Satan As Hero In Paradise Lost Essay
Hazlitt (1818) shows both the strength and the limitations of this view, and according to him, Satan is the most heroic subject that was ever chosen for a poem; and the execution is as perfect as the design is lofty.
In the poem, Satan was endowed with certain attributes which are worthy of epic heroes, and which make him a sympathetic, almost tragic character.
His aim was no less than the throne of the universe.
His ambition was the greatest, and his punishment was the greatest, but not so his despair, for his fortitude was as great as his sufferings.
Slotkin (2004, as cited in Smilie, 2013) is also of the view that "God's punishments turn their victims into allegories of their own crimes" (114), a notion confirmed by Satan's famous assertion "Myself am Hell" (IV. His strength of mind was matchless as his strength of body. He was the greatest power that was ever overthrown, with the strongest will left to resist or to endure. He still stood like a tower, proudly eminent in shape and gesture.
An outcast from Heaven, Hell trembles beneath his feet; Sin and Death are at his heels, and mankind are his easy prey.
The deformity of Satan is only in the depravity of his will; he has no bodily deformity to excite our loathing or disgust.His love of power and contempt for suffering is never once relaxed from the highest pitch of intensity (…) After such a conflict as his, and such a defeat, to retreat in order to rally, to make terms, to exist at all, is something; but he does more than this-he found a new empire in Hell, and from it conquers this new world, wither he bends his undaunted flight.The poet has not in all this given us a mere shadowy outline; the strength is equal to the magnitude of the conception.This description may be valid if we consider the epic as showing Satan as a character who "materializes hope, basing his hopes to gain power on the acquisition of land" (Fenton, 2003: n.p.).Combined to these great qualities, Satan was the first of created beings who, for endeavoring to be equal with the highest and to divide the empire of Heaven with the Almighty, was hurled down to Hell.He has a mighty stature so that, when he rises, the flames on both sides of him are driven backward and roll in billows.He carries a ponderous, massy, and large shield on his shoulder.The very descriptions of Satan’s physical dimensions and the size of the tools he carries mark him out as a kind of hero.His limbs are long and large; his bulk is as huge as that of the Titan who fought against Jove or that of Leviathan which God of all His works created hugest that swim the ocean stream.This view originated during the Romantic age, with its rebellion against all established forms of authority and its emphasis on the development of personality (whether in the author or in one of his characters).According to Gordon (2005), it was Blake who expressed this view most emphatically by saying that Milton was of the devil’s party without knowing it.