Paradise Lost Characters

The main characters in Paradise Lost are Satan, Adam, and Eve.

  • Satan is the prideful leader of the fallen angels. His envy of God leads to his expulsion from Heaven.
  • Adam is the first human being. He and Eve are superior to the other creatures in the garden and bring about the Fall of Man by disobeying God.

  • Eve is weaker than Adam in judgment. Her wild nature leaves her vulnerable to Satan’s influence.

Characters

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Last Updated on October 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 807

Satan

Satan, the ruler of the fallen angels, is a mass of contradictions. He is magnificent, thoughtful, sensitive, and brilliantly intelligent, yet all these qualities have been corrupted and turned to evil. He is the leader of the fallen angels, but, as he himself muses, no one will aspire to oust him from this position, since it means he has the greatest share of pain and suffering in hell. At times, he is acutely self-aware, realizing that God did nothing to merit his anger, while at other times he seems convinced by his own sophistry. The tragic grandeur of his language is continually undercut by the meanness of his motives and the sordid ways in which he pursues them.

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Adam

Adam is wise, stately, graceful, and filled with genuine reverence for God. Before the Fall, he is quite innocent, though Eve’s beauty has a profound effect on him. After the Fall, Adam is ashamed but remains wise and reverent, showing that, though initially an inferior creature to the fallen angels, he has handled his corruption more honorably and done something to deserve the favor he receives from God.

Eve

Eve is Adam’s spouse, created from him and for him. She is more beautiful than Adam but inferior to him in wisdom and in all other ways. Her preoccupation with her own beauty and her susceptibility to temptation are her chief faults. After the Fall, she gives way to despair and leans upon Adam for comfort.

God the Father

Milton’s God is omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect. He is portrayed as being surrounded by dazzling light and by angels who are constantly singing his praises. He is just and demands obedience, but he is also merciful and generous, with a deep love for everything and everyone he has created, particularly Man.

The Son

The Son, like his Father, is of divine essence and is always of one mind with God, though they discuss their plans so that the poet may describe them to the reader. He is heroic and self-sacrificing, volunteering to undergo death and suffering so that Man can have eternal life. He is also terrifying in battle, and he effortlessly drives the rebel angels into the abyss during the war in heaven.

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Beelzebub

Beelzebub is Satan’s second-in-command, formerly a bright and powerful angel. Of all Satan’s lieutenants, he is the one who thinks most deeply and subtly, and is therefore most similar to his chief.

Moloch

Moloch is portrayed as the simplest, most brutal, and most bloodthirsty of the fallen angels. He is worshiped as a god by some pagan sects and demands the sacrifice of infants.

Belial

Belial is a sly and eloquent demon and a persuasive speaker. He is intelligent enough to see the folly of fighting openly against God, and instead advocates doing nothing.

Mammon

Mammon is the personification of avarice, and he is content to live in hell because there is a great quantity of gold to be mined. Even in heaven, his thoughts were always fixed on sordid wealth rather than spiritual matters.

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Latest answer posted December 4, 2011, 9:37 pm (UTC)

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Sin

Sin is Satan’s daughter, who sprang from his head when he first conceived the idea of disobedience to God. Sin was once beautiful, but by the time she appears in the poem, she has become a monster, half-woman, half-serpent, with hell-hounds gnawing at her lower regions.

Death

Death is a dark and terrifying figure, constantly ravenous for slaughter. He raped his mother, Sin, who then gave birth to the hell-hounds that gnaw at her.

The Archangel Gabriel

Gabriel is a powerful archangel, the second-in-command of heaven’s army. He is the leader of those angels placed by God in the new world, and guards the staircase to heaven.

The Archangel Raphael

Raphael is described as sociable and affable, the most talkative and approachable of the archangels. God chooses him to visit Adam, eat with him, answer his questions, and warn him about the danger posed by Satan. Raphael is the narrator of book 6, giving a dramatic account of the war in heaven, and of book 7, describing the creation of the earth.

The Angel Abdiel

Abdiel is the only angel initially under Satan’s command who returns to God. He is particularly outraged by Satan’s usurpation and perversion of God’s majesty and is courageous enough to face Satan alone in battle.

The Archangel Michael

Michael is the commander of the divine army and fights Satan in single combat, severely wounding him. He is perfectly loyal to God and, though he is courageous enough to face Satan alone, draws back when the Son approaches, recognizing a greater power.

The Archangel Uriel

Uriel is a superior angel tasked with guarding Paradise because his powers of perception are so acute. He is, nonetheless, deceived by Satan, allowing him to enter the Garden of Eden.

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