Milton's Satan in Paradise Lost
After researching Satan and his kingdom, Hell, through the Bible and Paradise Lost to compare and contrast the two characterizations, I realized that Milton must have been a true Bible scholar. Milton’s Satan is described so closely to the Biblical view of Satan that it is often times hard to distinguish the two. Milton changed and elaborated on a few characteristics of his Satan and his Hell in order to create Paradise Lost, but based his characterization and his descriptions on his interpretation of the Bible, using his imagination to form a more vivid picture of how horrible Satan and Hell are in reality.
The action of Book One in Paradise Lost begins immediately after God has thrown Satan and his other fallen angels down to Hell from Heaven. The reader then comes to know that Satan was cast into Hell because he became too proud and believed that his power was equal to God’s own power. He wanted to set himself up on a pedestal in Heaven. Milton writes, “What time his pride had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host of rebel angels, by whose aid aspiring to set himself in glory above his peers, he trusted to have equaled the Most High” (Norton 1819). In the book of Isaiah, the story is relayed very similarly to Milton’s version of how and why Satan fought against God and that he was thrown down into Hell. Milton speaks of Satan as “O how fallen!” (Isaiah 14:12-15). This phrase comes directly from Isaiah 14:12. Isaiah wrote, “How you are fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” (Isaiah 14:12). Isaiah continues in the same fashion as Milton in verses 13-15 when he writes,
For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into Heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit (Isaiah 14:13-15).
Satan was indeed so vain and proud, both in the Bible and in Paradise Lost, that he tried to battle God. Revelations 12:7-9 also describes Satan battling and loosing to God.
And war broke out in Heaven: Michael and his angels
fought with the dragon (Satan); and the dragon and his
angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a
place found for them in Heaven any longer. So the
great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called
the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he
was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out
with him (Revelations 12:7-9).
God, being so much more mighty than Satan, threw him and his followers down into Hell. Milton describes this when he writes, “Him the Almighty Power hurled headlong flaming from the...