At a Glance

Paradise Lost key characters:

  • In Paradise Lost, 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.

  • Beelzebub is Satan’s second-in-command who promotes Satan’s strategy for revenge.

  • Satan is the prideful leader of the fallen angels. His envy of God leads to his expulsion from Heaven.

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Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Adam, the first man and representative of humankind. Although gifted with reason and restraint, he allows an excessively passionate tenderness for Eve to blind him. Forewarned by the Archangel Raphael of danger from Satan, he nevertheless yields to Eve’s entreaty that she alone be trusted. When he learns that she has fallen, he chooses to join her rather than turn from her. His first reaction after his own fall is to rebuke and blame her for his own sin. After falling into almost suicidal despair, he repents. When the Archangel Michael foretells the future redemption of humankind by Christ, he accepts his fate with gratitude.


Eve, the first woman and representative of womanhood. Beautiful, gentle, and submissive, she holds Adam enthralled. She is horrified when Satan first approaches her in a dream, but piqued by what she considers Adam’s lack of faith in her, she stubbornly insists on working alone, thereby leaving herself vulnerable to the Serpent’s temptation. Like Adam, after the fall she is first lustful, then quarrelsome. Finally, she too accepts her fate with dignity and resignation.


Satan (Lucifer), the chief of the fallen angels, adversary of God and humanity. His obvious heroism and grandeur are tainted by a perversion of will and accompanying perversion of intellect. Rebellious against God, he is incapable of understanding Him. A self-tormented spirit, conscious of his loss but unwilling to repent, he allows evil to eat away at him, tarnishing his splendor. His degradation is complete when he decides to enter the body of the serpent. His attempt to seduce humanity succeeds, but his triumph is temporary and hollow.


Beelzebub (bee-EHL-zeh-buhb), Satan’s chief lieutenant. Less confident and less splendid than his chief, he works his will and serves as his mouthpiece. In the council of the fallen angels in Pandemonium, he presents forcefully Satan’s plan of indirect war on God through humanity. His proposal carries.


Moloch (MOH-lok), the fiercest of the fallen angels. Appropriately worshiped in later years with human sacrifice, he is bloody-minded and desperate. If the fallen angels cannot win Heaven, he chooses either to make Heaven intolerable for the angels who did not fall or to anger God to the point that He will annihilate the fallen spirits.


Belial (BEE -lee-ehl), a fallen angel industrious only in vice. Smooth and oily, he favors peace at any price and expresses the hope that if the fallen angels do not call God’s...

(The entire section is 975 words.)