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 than the stern, remote figure of the Almighty. To some extent, his flaws are our flaws. In casting Satan down from Heaven, God has inadvertently put him closer to us. He shares our emotions—anger, joy, resentment, and hate—which makes him more empathetic, though not sympathetic.
Many have argued, most notably Shelley and William Blake,...
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