Paradise Lost Questions and Answers
by John Milton

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In Paradise Lost by Milton, what characteristics does Satan have that make him a hero? How does Milton's Satan compare to Beowulf as a hero?

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Although John Milton may not have intended for Paradise Lost to present Satan as a hero, this has certainly become a popular interpretation of the fallen angel. In order to compare Satan to Beowulf, it's useful to first understand the genre to which both characters belong: the epic poem.

An epic poem is a long, narrative poem that tells of the heroic deeds of someone of great importance. The epic hero's actions are generally large in scope, affecting nations or even the whole world. Epics often play a part in both reflecting and shaping the values and culture of a given nation or time period.

Beowulf is an early medieval epic set in Scandinavia that chronicles the adventures of the titular character, a courageous warrior-prince who comes to the aid of Hrothgar, king of the Danes. Heorot Hall, where Hrothgar's people gather to exchange tales of their valorous deeds and show fealty to their king, has been under nightly attack by a monster called Grendel. Beowulf proves to be the only one...

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