Today I am going to discuss about the character of satan in paradise lost book 1. Satan as a renaissance hero in paradise lost, we all know it very well. Let’s discuss.
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Character of Satan in Paradise Lost, Book 1 by John Milton
Certain aspect of the epic can be used to support an interpretation of Satan as a Renaissance hero. Satan is the most important and precious character in the epic poem“Paradise Lost”. Milton’s Satan is gifted heroic qualities. Milton gives a dramatic description, of Satan, which makes as a renaissance hero.
His unlimited revolt against God, love for darning adventures and enterprises, spirit of individualism, excessive passion for gaming sky-high ambition, enlarged, outlook, youthful enthusiasm, and greater interest in earthly life etc. prove him as a man of Renaissance.
Revolt against the autocracy of the church or spiritual jurisdiction (power) was one of the significant causes behind the Renaissance. Milton portrays Satan as a heroic figure who has revolt against the unique dictorship of God. He expected to raise himself to the same position of divine glory as God’s.
He challenged the sovereignty of God and stated an unholy war in heaven to seize the thorn of God, which can be seen in character of satan in paradise lost book 1 . Even in the moment of defeat and humiliation, Satan thinks of new war and revenge. He says in the following way in this epic poem:
What though the field be lost?
All is not lost-the unconquerable will.
And study of revenge, immoral hate,
And courage never to submit or yield.
And what is else not to be overcome?
Satan’s Adventurous spirit of the age of Renaissance
Next we find the adventurous spirit of the age of Renaissance in Satan’s unconquerable will to do evil, vindictive motive and immortal hate against Divine power. After losing the heaven, Satan with his followers decided never to submit or surrender to almighty as they have not lost everything.
He thinks that God’s wrath and power can not defeat the glory of his personal identity. So Satan bid farewell to heaven and welcomes Hell with all its honors. He comforts himself with thought that he is the lord of Hell. He takes some consolation from the thought that Hell is the better place because he does not see the hateful sight of God.
The characteristic of Satanic mind and its passion for over-lordship is evident in the following lines:
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
Satan as monstrous size
In Medieval and Renaissance literature, the devil was usually in a monstrous size. Satan is compared to many creatures of monstrous size described in classical mythological stories. He is first compared to the Titans and giants who fought against Gods. Then he is compared with Briareos, Typhoon, Leviathan.
Using these Homeric similes Milton emphasizes the vastness or gigantic size of Satan’s bulk. Satan carries a ponderous massy and large shield on his shoulder. This shield is compared to moon as seen through a telescope. When he address his followers, he stands like a tower.
Satan’s sense of freedom
Satan’s sense of freedom speaking express the true spirit of Renaissance. Soon after falling from the heaven, which was the most awful situation of Satan, he becomes most eloquent. Breaking the dreadful silence of the Hell, Beelzebub of the the lieutenants of Lucifer, expresses in his first speech the hope to under take a glorious enterprise against God.
Satan’s pride and sky-touching ambition
Satan’s pride and sky-touching ambition are another trait of Renaissance. We are told that he has learnt nothing from his past failure and he is still determined to continue hi war against God. His pride and ambition, despite heavy odds, mark him as a politician, which has a fienest resemblance with that of Renaissance period.
Satan’s sense of youthful enthusians
Satan’s sense of youthful enthusians and enlarged outlook expresses the true spirit of Renaissance. In the Hell Beelzebub Satan’s mouth speaker, tells his comrades that God has created a new World and a new being called ‘Man’.
The new being enjoys God’s favor even more that his angles do. They should now discover the new world. But the task of discovering the new world would be most difficult and dangerous one. They should try to conquer that new world where mankind has been placed.
Satan very powerfully reflects the spirit of Machiavellian ideas. It is a character which uses immoral and fraud method in order to achieve power and success without realizing other people Satan, employing hypocrisy and false logic is able to throw dust into the eyes of followers and supporters and lead them to remain against the path of God.
For your better understanding, you may take a watch the following video:
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