Please discuss the significance of three speeches by Satan in John Milton's Paradise Lost.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Satan’s speeches in Milton’s Paradise Lost are interesting not only for what they say about the different topics he discusses but also for what they reveal or imply about Satan himself. Whenever Satan speaks, he is inevitably telling us something about Satan, no matter what the ostensible “subjects” of his speeches are.

Take, for example, his very first words in the poem, words which he addresses to Beëlzebub. Satan begins as follows: “If thou beest he; but O how fall’n!” (1.84). Satan speaks just four words before he interrupts himself and blurts out a surprised exclamation. He looks at Beëlzebub and is shocked by the change he sees. He cannot, of course, at this point see himself, but Milton will make clear throughout the poem that Satan has been physically changed as well. Yet these physical changes in the fallen angels are far less important than the spiritual...

(The entire section contains 452 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on