In what ways does Milton's narrative voice undercut Satan's heroism in Books I and II of Paradise Lost?
While it is easy to view Satan as a type of epic hero in the first books of Paradise Lost, Milton does include descriptions to portray Satan as other than a victim when it comes to his fate in Hell. For example, Milton creates a Satan who is beautiful and immense. Readers have a difficult time admiring or pitying someone who is Satan's size and who apparently had as many admirable characteristics as he does in the poem.
Similarly, Milton includes Beelzebub as a sounding board for Satan's diatribes. Beelzebub reminds the reader that Satan wasn't sentenced alone; and even though Satan might believe that it is "better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven," unlike a hero, he makes that decision selfishly--not heroically--for no one else but himself.