In Paradise Lost, how does Milton make Satan an attractive character?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Satan is made—superficially—attractive by Milton in a number of ways. He feels that he's been wronged by God, unfairly cast down from Heaven for daring to proclaim his independence and autonomy. These are highly desirable qualities which most people want, and Satan's no different. It's often been said by critics that God is depicted in Paradise Lost as a kind of tyrant, far removed from the loving God of the New Testament. Our instincts naturally rebel against anything that remotely smacks of tyranny, so Satan is in good company.

Satan, for all his numerous faults, is more recognizably human...

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benjammin412 | Student

I think it is important to note that Milton is not the only source that renders Satan as an attractive character. This is Biblical. In the book of Isaiah, Lucifer is addressed as the Day Star, and 2 Corinthians says that "even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." Milton makes Satan attractive because he has to in order to remain true to the Bible. Doesn't it make perfect sense that the Great Deceiver would pose as a magnificent and beautiful creature, when deep down, he is the essence of evil. Milton says that he is "clothed with transcendent brightness." (line 86) If Satan is truly as seductive as he is supposed to be, then he must be attractive. It is essential.

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