Hero of ‘Paradise Lost’ | Hero of Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ | Who is the hero of ‘Paradise Lost’
Hero of ‘Paradise Lost’
Paradise Lost’ is a classical Epic. There is a blend of the Renaissance and the Reformation in ‘paradise Lost’. These is a fusion of Hellenism and Hebraism in ‘Paradise Lost’. Milton’s great epic is autobiographical. This magnificent combination in a grand style by the exuberant imagination of the most learned poet of the English language raises some controversial issues. The issue of the hero is most important one God, Christ, Adam, Milton and Satan are in the fray (contest) of the hero. The controversy is still going on. Here we attempt a brief critical analysis of the question as to who is the hero of ‘Paradise Lost’ in the light of the above.
Satan As the Hero –
Quite a large number of critics maintain that Satan is the hero of ‘Paradise Lost’. His character has been drawn on a grand scale. He has strong will, indomitable courage, tenacity to fight, endurance, perseverance and quality of leadership.
His utterances reveal milton’s philosophical and political views. He waged war against God in Heaven. He was vanquished by God and thrown into the Hell along with his followers. He is defeated, but not demoralized. He cries.
“What thought the field be lost,
All is not lost, the unconquerable will.”
Further, he inspires his army,
“Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen.”
These are very powerful words, highly inspiring. Satan’s love of freedom is expressed in the following words –
“Better to reign in Hell
Than to serve in Heaven.”
This is Milton himself speaking through Satan. Satan inspires his followers to continue the war till eternity. By force God has defeated only their body, not their Spirit. The Hell cannot keep them in bondage.
“…. War, then war
Open or understood, must be resolved.”
Satan took a vow to corrupt the creation of God. He succeeded in seducing Eve. She tasted the forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve were banished from Paradise by God. Satan succeeds in his plan. He can rightly claim the title of the hero of ‘Paradise Lost’.
Adam as the Hero –
Some critics are of the opinion that Adam is the hero of ‘Paradise Lost’. Dr. Johnson is one of these critics. According to them, Adam is the first man. He is the father of mankind. The story of ‘Paradise: ost’ is the story of the fall of man, of Adam. He is the central figure of the hero c. Hence, he is the hero of the epic. Dryden did not consider, Adan as the hero of the epic because, in his opinion Adam docs not have the courage and valour of a hero.
God As the Hero –
There is one school of though that holds that God is the hero of ‘Paradise Lost’. In the war between God and Satan. God is the victor. Satan is the vanquished. Hence, God is the hero, not Satan. Moreover, Milton wrote the epic, “to Justify the ways of God to men.” Therefore, Satan could never be the hero of the epic. He is the fallen angel. A villain can never be the hero of an epic. Hence, God is the hero of ‘Paradise Lost.”
Christ As the Hero –
Some critics maintain that Christ is the hero of ‘Paradise Lost.” They argue that Milton was a religious man. He was true Christian. He was a firm believer in the preachings of Christ. He believed that Christ was the prophet of God. Therefore, when he says that he is going, “to justify the ways of God to men,” he means to say that he is going to justify the preachings of Christ to men. In this way Christ is the hero of the epic. David Daiches considers Christ as the hero of ‘Paradise Lost.’
Milton Himself as the Hero –
There are some critics who go to the extent of saying that Milton himself is the hero of ‘Paradise Lost.” Their plea is that in the character of Satan, Milton has drawn his own qualities. Therefore, to say that Satan is the hero of the epic amounts to saying that Milton himself is the hero of the epic.
Analysis of the above –
Considering the views discussed above we come to the conclusion that plea that Satan is the hero of the epic is more convincing and powerful than any other plea. The delineation of Satan’s character by Milton is done on such a grand scale that the fits well in the plot to claim the title of the hero of the epic. Satan’s utterances fully reveal and justify that he alone deserves to be the hero of the epic.
On the basis of the above discussion we can safely conclude that Satan is the hero of ‘Paradise Lost’. However, this is not the last word. The controversy is still going on.
English – Important links
- A note on Milton’s Grand style
- Paradise Lost as a classical Epic | How does Milton employ classical epic convention in his Invocation in paradise last Book.
- “The heights were within Pope’s reach, and he reached them.” Justify and criticise
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