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Satan as the Hero of Paradise Lost
Give the Devil His Due
Paradise Lost has been discussed by the critics having different opinions. Main issue with all of the critics is that all of them seem to be convinced by the definition of a hero described by Aristotle. This is my first objection. Aristotle, was no doubt a great philosopher and all of us must admire him, presented the qualities of an epic hero which prevailed during his time.
Change With Time
My opinion is that literature is the reflection of life. Life changes with the change in society. We must observe the social scenario which prevailed during Milton's time. Milton could not openly present his message. He used Paradise Lost to present his message to the public and he used Satan's character in order to present his own thoughts.
Satan, The Central Figure
Regardless of Satan's negative approach, we must consider that Satan has been focused as a center of attraction throughout this great epic poem. Satan is a great orator who has the capability to convince his followers. He succeeded in motivating his follower after all the disappointments he had to go through.
Courageous and Brave
I am strongly convinced that Satan should be given credit for his bravery and courage. He has stood firm even after God made him fall deep into the hell. "It is better to reign is hell than to serve in heavens" shows the character of Stan. He is against slavery and he raises voice against the supreme power.
Not Ready to Kneel Down
Satan did not back off his words. He stands firm throughout the epic even with the knowledge that God cannot be defeated. I must give credit to Satan for his determination and devotion.
Difference of Perceptions
Critics say that Satan should not be the hero because he is not inclined towards goodness. I do not agree with this objection, The fact is that Milton used the character of Satan to motivate people against the ruling authorities of England at that time. Milton's goal is not to "justify the ways of God to men" as most of the critics argue. In my opinion Milton was not a moralist. Milton wanted to promote a sense of courage and bravery which was lacking in the people of England at that time.
My concluding remarks are that we should not analyse Satan with a religious point of view. Keep the religion aside and analyse Satan's character in accordance with the need of that era. And that need was to motivate people against the rulers of that time.