Discuss the significance of Satan’s first speech in book 1 of Paradise Lost


Satan’s first speech in Paradise Lost written by John Milton (1608-1674) is a reflection of pure Miltonic Lyricism. The first speech of Satan creates the leadership quality and defection of Satan. 

Heroic figure:

In Book of Paradise Lost Satan have been depicted as a heroic figure. Satan’s speeches create the impression that Satan is noble and great. Some of the critics believe that Milton is unconsciously projecting his own personality in the portrayal of Satan. Thus,He is unconsciously exalting Satan to the high status of a hero. 

More Notes: Paradise Lost

Personification of evil: 

If we analyse and examine dispassionately Satan’s speech, we can recognise that Satan is the personification of evil. Milton even do not intend us to sympathies with Satan.

Disobeying God:

Satan encourages and motivates his followers  to stand against God. In the opening line of the speech, he shows wonders about the changes found in Beelzebub. He feels ashamed to accept the power of God. He reminds Beelzebub of the glory in heaven and compares it to present sorrows. He believed that God insulted his esteem and promised to not change his nasty mind against God.

Use of irony: 

Throughout the speech, Satan uses rhetorical figures like Irony that make it impressive. His historical “high disdain” and “sense of injured merit” have overtones of the ludicrous. It seems weak and childish.

Denying Gods victory:

Satan keeps encouraging his followers by saying that just one match doesn’t decide who the winner is. So, Satan defies the power of God and did not accept the victory of God. We lost just one match does not mean that we lost everything.

“What though the field be lost?

All is not lost, the unconquerable will,

And the study of revenge, immortal hate,

And courage never to submit or yield,

And what is else not to be overcome?”

Excessive pride and ego:

Satan shows excessive pride and ego. These lines contain a ray of hope and Satan seemed to be more optimistic. He denied accepting his loss. He states that bowing down before God is more shameful than defeat. The last part of the speech shows his inability to do anything except regret his excruciating life. Throughout the speech, there are no commandments or actions to follow except hate and revenge against God.


We can say that In Paradise Lost Satan is the symbol of evil and is intent and bent upon ever doing evil and concerting good into evil. He seems to be dead against the merciful supreme God.

Rashedul Islam
Rashedul Islam

Hi, This is Rashedul. Researcher and lecturer of English literature and Linguistics.

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