John Milton (1608-1676) is famous for his most popular epic called “Paradise Lost“. In the epic poem, he describes the fall of Satan and the exclusion of Adam and Eve. In Book-1 of “Paradise Lost”, Milton sketches Satan as a hero of the Renaissance. Because, as Milton defines Satan, it seems that Satan is the most powerful and foremost figure.
More Notes: Paradise Lost
To present the character of Satan in front of the readers, Milton displays the chivalric and adventurous outlook of Satan. He is such a character who cannot bear to be a servant but is a character having the leader. As he says,-
“Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”
The above lines prove that Satan can live in a place of torment like Hell, but he can’t live in Heaven as a servant though Heaven is a place of eternal peace.
One of the features of the Renaissance is heroic leadership which is forged into Satan so finely by Milton. Satan, as a leader and true protagonist, chooses to accept the harsh situation of Hell and acts as a hero of the other fallen angels. Hell is now Heaven for him because at least no one is here to rule over him, only he will reign here. He is the only king of this place.
Morality and intellectually:
From the viewpoint of this point, Satan stands as a great political figure, possessed with unbeatable courage, stubbornness, and lust for revenge. His indomitable wish and undying lust for revenge can be clearly traced in the following lines that he tells Beelzebub, –
“Fallen cherub, to be weak is miserable,
Doing or suffering”
Satan’s obstinacy of reigning is proved in the above lines. He does not know anything but do or die. Either you stand against your opponent or you accept your slavery.
Riot against the authority:
There was also a trend in the Renaissance that is to revolt against the authority of the church. To create the character of Satan, Milton also forged the exact flavor in him. Likewise, he also stands against God. He works as a rebel alongside the monarchy of God. In his declaration of the assembly of the fallen angels, it is clear that he has a strong hatred for God and he wants a war, rather it would be open or secret, against the Almighty.
To sum up our discussion, the character of Satan in “Paradise Lost- Book I” is of course evil, but also a dominating Renaissance character at a time. It can be said that he stands as a representative of the eternal evil, who has indomitable will power, unpredictable stubbornness, courageous mind as the leader of the fallen angels.