Who is the hero of Milton's Paradise Lost?  Give arguments in support of your answer.

Expert Answers
sherryll eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a subject of much scholarly debate.  There are two possibilities:  one is Adam (or even Eve, though she is rarely mentioned in that context).  The other is Satan.


The argument for Satan’s being the hero is that he is by far the most interesting character.  This argument arises from Satan’s subtle use of Rhetoric to argue against Eve’s objections, and though Eve is not “dumb,” she is persuaded by Satan to do what she has been cautioned, specifically not to do.    He is one of the classic examples of Aristotle’s point that Rhetoric is finding “the best available means of persuasion.”


By contrast, Adam is rather a weak character who is defined by uxoriousness—the excessive love of one’s spouse, and so he is willing to turn away from God in order to be faithful to his love of Eve.


One of the best online sources for research is Voice of the Shuttle.  It is an excellent way to discover who the primary critics of a poet are, and a starting place for various kinds of research.   See the link below.