Milton's Satan, by common consent, is one of the greatest artistic creation in any language. He is the most heroic and magnificent character ever portrayed. There has been great controversy on the ambiguity of his character. Yet it is true that his character engages the reader's attention and excites his admiration also. He is the main character of "Paradise Lost Book1". From the beginning of the epic poem till end, his character degenrates. This degradation gives real epic quality to Paradise Lost & also to Satan himself.
Satan is the villain of the great epic poem. He is an embodiment of evil incarnate. He disobeys God. He cannot be the hero, for in the end, he himself realizes his impotence. The revolt which Satan stirs up in the Heaven, leads to the fall of the angels. The problem for Milton was how to present such an evil character. If Milton had presented ...view middle of the document...
Satan is an Archangel in Heaven. He has a high place in the hierarchy of angels. But he is proud and defiant. He rebels against God and falls down to Hell. One third rebellious angels also suffer from the same fate. From pride arise all the evils. Satan is full of pride.
He is courageous.He may be wrong headed, but he has infinite courage in himself. As the poem begins Satan is in a hopeless situation. He lies dazed & stunned in the Lake of liquid fire along with other angels. Heaven is lost to Satan & his followers. He says-
"What though the field be lost?
All is not lost: the unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield."
He has firm determination and courage.He says that he will never 'submit or yield.' It is a heroic quqlity. He makes his evil intentions clear. He is prompted by undying hatred for God & a desire for revenge. He is not going to beg God for mercy because of fear. He claims to be equal ton God in arms & superior to Him in foresight. This claim is sheer arrogance on his part. He resolves to wagewar against God "by force or guile", and never to think of reconcilliation with Him. To him weakness is crime-
"Fallen cherub, to be weak is miserable
Doing or suffering"
There are some description. Satan's bodily dimensions. He is "huge in bulk". He is compared to Briareos who fought against Uranus and to Typhon who fought against Jove. He is also compared to the sea-monster "Leviathan". which God of all His works/ created hugest that swim "ocean stream" This description of His external features of Satan is surely worthy of an epic hero. But no sooner have we formed this impression then Milton in forms us of Satan's "dark-designs". Satan's wholly evil aims & designs are too obviously emphasised that satan has some heroic attributes.
Thus, Satan is the character of the epic poem Paradise Lost. He is courageous proud, strong willed and responsible leader. Yet his character degenrates as the poem ends.