Can anyone help me with the analysis of Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost?

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Payal Khullar eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Satan, being an adversary of God and of the entire humanity, inevitably gets an antagonistic status in religious and moral texts. In John Milton’s Paradise Lost, however, he is the hero or the protagonistSatan, also known as Lucifer, was once one of the most beautiful and loved angels in God’s heaven. But his rebellion and revolt against God makes him thrown out of heaven. He accepts eternal damnation because he is unwilling to get subjugated by the authority.

Satan is a very rich, complex and powerful character. While he is clearly evil, immoral and revengeful, he is also a tragic figure. He has a tragic flaw, hubris or extreme pride, which becomes the reason of his downfall. Satan is definitely a very courageous, heroic character who fights against the tyranny of the creator who is much more powerful than him. The readers sympathize with him because he goes beyond his limits and risks everything to fight for a cause he passionately believes in and fails. He impresses us with his powerful, vivid oration and leadership skills. Even after getting badly defeated, he doesn’t lose hope and asks his fellow fallen angels to continue the war against God. Satan’s character also has overtones of self-destructiveness for he is conscious of his loss, but refuses to repent. He believes, it is “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven”. The true nature of his character in the poem, however, is highly debatable.

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Paradise Lost

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