Satan as a Renaissance Hero in Milton

Paradise Lost is an epic in blank verse of the seventeenth century by English writer John Milton. The first edition of the book published in 1667, comprises ten books with more than 10,000 lines of the stanza. The poem begins with Satan and the extremist angels who were tossed out of heaven and documented the first disobedience, as a result, they plunge from heaven. In the poem, the personality of Satan depicted by Milton has created conflict among the critics and readers. In this epic, Satan is again and again represented in a way that the readers feel emphasized for his heroism. Satan is thoroughly examined in participation with the disastrous wannabe. Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost, book 1 indicates the disobedience of individuals and as a result, they drop from the enchanting heaven. 

The description of Satan is fundamentally recognized for Milton’s heroic demonstration of Satan. Milton introduced a different character of Satan than some other essayist who had been depicted previously in both literature and art. John Milton’s presentations of Satan in the epic lead the critics to build up a creative portrayal of Satan. As per Biblical records, Satan is the creator of evil, the expert of camouflage, and man’s most noticeably awful adversary. Pride, defiance, and dauntlessness are Satan’s significant qualities that are portrayed a few times by John Milton in this incredible epic. In the event of deluding his devotees, he implied various techniques. The poetic persona lets Satan talk concerning progression, order, rebellion, and defiance. In Paradise Lost Book 1, the heroism of Satan depicted by John Milton is not possible looking at just a single. To comprehend the significance of plurality in the characteristic of Satan, it is important to go through the character in a few different ways. A confounded representation often opposes this idea with the poetic persona. Moreover, the author enlivened the personality of Satan both legend and scalawag, who protest autocracy, and he is additionally an evangelist of freedom, and host of his egocentrism. Therefore, the poetic persona intentionally gives Satan the qualities of the Renaissance by depicting a certain significance of Satan.

            First of all, Paradise Lost Book 1, is about Satan; he is a glorious holy messenger yet changed paradise to hellfire as a frightful character. His first and last impression is exceptionally astonishing. Satan’s personality in Paradise Lost from start to end of the epic forced readers considering him as a legend of the epic and signifying Satan with the author himself. It is fact that Satan in the narrative demonstrates the fall of man. In book 1, Satan is anchoring and overflowing with the pool of fire in hell. For instance, the author gives a grand background of Satan’s appearances 

 With Head up-lift above the wave, and eyes 

That sparkling blaz’d, his other Parts besides 

Prone on the Flood, extended long and large 

Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge 

           As whom the Fables name of monstrous size, (Paradise Lost, Book I, p.193–97)

He has the incomparable courage to face the supreme punishment. He has set out to battle against the most noteworthy discipline that has been met out to him the tortures of damnation. He had been tossed over the bastion of paradise with his fellow mates. Satan is the primary significant character in the sonnet who in the past called Lucifer. He is resolved as a shaft star, he is gutsy as a lion, and he is utilized as an ocean beast. This nature of Satan makes him an incredible ground figure of Paradise Lost. He is a legend just as a scoundrel yet the main character of Paradise Lost. There are a few characteristics of Satan that make him the hero of Paradise Lost. Rakib Uddin student of English literature in his essay titled “Satan, the Most Well-developed Character of Milton’s Paradise Lost: A Critical Analysis.” 

In quintessence then, Milton’s magnificent poetic style locates Satan up as daring in Books I and II. The appearance of Satan formulates him to give the impression superior to him is in the beginning, illustrates the reader to Satan’s point of view. Supplementary, for the reason that all of the other characters in the poem — Adam, Eve, God, the Son, the angels — are fundamental categories to a certain extent than characters, Milton expend additional imaginative liveliness on the improvement of Satan so that through the poem, Satan’s character sustains the reader’s concentration. (653)

 Then, Satan’s greatness, pride, and loftiness in Paradise Lost are the author’s creation. The author gives him the image of scalawag however in the appearance of the hero. In general, Milton calls attention to Satan’s face which once outperformed the sun. His unique magnificence might have been distinguished him from other character in the poem, and this difference demonstrates the picture of an unflinching heroic soul. In the primary discourse, he makes unsuccessful yet lofty fun of god’s martial force. Satan viewed himself as more prominent than the god. Indeed, even amidst all his torment as well as humiliation, he has gear to make plans for another conflict. Moreover, Satan’s inseparable determination for retribution is another principle that highlights his character. Though the position of Satan is second, his determination stays unshaken, his assurance is the principal motivation for the fallen angel by his strong verdict. For example, “[ . . .] for now the thought Both of lost happiness and lasting pain, Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes, that witnessed huge affliction and dismay, Mixt with obdurate pride and steadfast hate” (Paradise Lost, Book I, 54–58). As a reader, we appreciate the firm determination of Satan which never be submitted. The poetic persona makes Satan’s shrewd expectation quite understandable. He is full of endless disdain for God and a longing for vengeance. Milton shows the different sides of the character of Satan.

 Furthermore, the hero is a man of action. Courage is the most significant aspect of Satan’s character. God had thrown him into an abyss, and now he understands that he is defenseless in the absence of fluid fire. Yet he has regaining consideration about that defenseless state. Satan’s fellow mate Beelzebub believes that the fallen angel is bound to live everlastingly in heck, but Satan is promiscuous to overcome himself from that obstacle circumstance, and with the expression of boldness he eliminates the dread of his supporters and gives them new expectation. At that point with the strong statements, he rises their dropping soul as well as reunites mental strength in them. Even though they crushed, yet not reluctant to pronounce his conflict with the incredible adversary. Neither the force of God nor the agonies of damnation can defeat his courage. Hence, he is promptly demonstrated as a pioneer as he guided others. Here his Renaissance spirit is quite evident. For example, a critic Jim Jenkins explains, “A Renaissance Leader is adept at creating a shared vision across all areas of an organization. They view change as a developmental process that requires understanding not just where they want to take their company, but also their people, creating a holistic model for future success.”

           Besides, critics argued that three key qualities of an ideal leader make him an admirable command first his oratory, second his politics, and third his control. We see rare oratory in his speech that is full of inspiration. We see he has a political sense with the ability to set up a systematic ministry for a fallen angel. This is a true quality of a great leader and heroic man; a real hero is one who not only possesses heroic qualities but also creates similar qualities in others. In puritan theology, he is a villain leader but, in the renaissance, he is a universal model of ideal leadership. Further, Satan is the great sinner of God and man, but one of the renaissance or art lovers of Milton’s creative imagination, he is truly ground. Even in book 1, Satan is a good hero, he only appears grand but is not only great and thus Satan is not real hero of religious sculpture but he is the remarkable product of heroic poetry. Once again, Paradise Lost book 1 is the most elevated articulation of Milton’s exceptional religious belief. Hence Satan has all the qualities of an ideal hero in light of the Renaissance spirit. 

         Secondly, Satan’s limitless rebel against God, passion for darning risk, the enthusiasm of independence, unreasonable energy for gaming out in a world of aspiration and augmented, point of view, excitement, and noteworthy interest in worldly life, and so forth demonstrate Satan as a legend of Renaissance. The strength of the image of Satan created by Milton is interpreting his Renaissance hegemony. Renaissance significantly indicates resurrection or reawakening in the restoration of European art as well as writing. Moreover, the classic model was explicitly constructed in the fourteenth to the sixteenth century. Aside from this, we additionally characterize Renaissance in terms of the Europe-wide agitation that began in Italy. That development shut the convention of the middle age. This movement blended every aspect of life and culture altogether. Also, during the Renaissance, the men needed a wide range of information they followed excellence in all spheres, they need abundance, they need to control the political system, this is Renaissance’s spirit. The author, Milton himself was glad, and he had raised his voice against the oppression of the King in that age, and in this epic Paradise Lost the author decides to legitimize the methods of God to men. He supplied Satan with extraordinary Renaissance hegemony and quality, and that is the reason Satan can go against the ruler of paradise. In this context, William Blake explained that “Milton was a true poet and of the devil’s party without knowing it.” In this way, as a result of Satan’s unyielding will, boldness, determination, predicted Renaissance characteristics, Satan is viewed as a legend. Satan was extraordinary among all angels; his character is amazing; God made heck to oblige Satan and his followers who had rebelled against god. Satan was different than others; he was the first to come to see it, while noticing in the pool of fire, he observes and addressed his lieutenant, Beelzebub. In reality, the author begins Paradise Lost with the very first statement of Satan after that addressing:

“All is not lost the unconquerable will 

And study of free which immortal hate 

And courage neighbor to submit or to yield” (106-108)

Satan is here a chivalrous character; he is unpretentious in contention; he is free in his verdict, he is additionally perplexing as well as intriguing character, he is honorable to the point that is his never-ending determination of victory, and as he assists the demission to the conquer as though he conveys the flag of humanism. In the main discourse, Satan supports his lieutenant as a genuine chief, here the author tracks down the features of a genuine commander in Satan’s character. Although from the beginning, Satan laments the deficiency of defeat and life. However, at the same time, he recuperates from the condition of hopelessness and said that

“To reign is worth ambition, though in hell;

 Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”

Thus, from these lines, we find that Satan needs to rule, he needs to be a lord. So, that is the reason he decides to reign in heck than serve in paradise. Satan shows his fulfillment even in the prison of hellfire. Here we discover Satan as an optimistic person which indicates the Renaissance thought of the artist. An optimistic means the hopefulness, the hopeful characteristics of mind in every situation. Then in the fourth speech, Saturn boosts up his soldiers, the fallen angels, and awakens them from the sleep of despondency. He exerts havoc and rises from to be forever fallen. Renaissance Leaders are never satisfied with doing things as they’ve done them in the past. Instead, they encourage creativity and innovation at all times and at all levels. 

               Then in his last speech, Satan appears to be a worshipper of democracy, his rhetorical interrelation that “who can think of sublimation”, it is always a negative answer as nobody wars for slavery. Here also Satan depicts, Milton’s Renaissance spirit that is protesting against the system of autocracy. For instance, “Revolt against the autocracy of the church or spiritual jurisdiction (power) was one of the significant causes behind the Renaissance” (Pias). The author depicts Satan as a legend who has rebelled against the autocracy of God. His ambition is to raise in the equal position of heavenly God. Satan challenged the autocracy of God and conducted an impure conflict in paradise to hold onto the throne of God, which can be found in the personality of Satan in Paradise Lost book 1. However, at the moment of humiliation and defeat, he thinks of conflict and revenge.  Moreover, at that time the adventurous spirit of Renaissance in Satan’s unconquerable will to do malicious, revengeful intention, and interminable disdain against Divine force. After failing in his battle, Satan with his devotees decided never to submit or give up to the god as they have lost nothing. In book 1, the poetic persona states, Satan feels in a way that God’s anger and force are unable to degrade the greatness of his ‘self’. So, Satan says goodbye to paradise and invites Hell with every aspect of its distinctions. He comforts himself with the prospect that he is the ruler of Hell. He takes some reassurance from the prospect that Hell is the better place as he does not have to see the disdainful sight of God. As Jim explains, “Renaissance Leaders also embrace change and allow themselves to take risks, using every situation as an opportunity.” Thus, it can be said that the characteristics of Satan full filled most of the aspect of Renaissance leader. The attribute of the Satanic psyche and its enthusiasm for over-lordship is clear in the following lines:  

 “The mind is its own place, and in itself 

       Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”

  (Paradise Lost, Book, 1)

In Medieval and Renaissance literary work, the villain was typically gigantic. Satan is compared to many mythological creatures which are monstrous in size. Firstly, Satan is compared with the Titans and monsters who battled against Gods. At that point, he is compared with Briareids, Typhoon, Leviathan. By using Homeric similes, the author depicts the monstrous configuration of Satan’s massiness’. Satan conveys an awkward, mass and enormous shield on fallen angels. The author compared the shield with the moon “as seen through a telescope” (Pias). At the point when he tended to his soldiers as a tower. Satan’s consciousness of freedom demonstrates the real Renaissance spirit. After falling from heaven, Satan faced the most devastating situation, he at that point became extremely expressive. The lieutenants of Satan, Beelzebub breaks the silence of hell by uttering the first speech to embrace a sublime venture against God. Satan’s sense of pride and endless ambition is another feature of the Renaissance spirit. The poetic persona narrates, the earlier failure did not have any effect on Satan; he is determined to go to revolt against God. Critics often describe that “his pride and ambition, despite heavy odds, mark him as a politician, which has the finest resemblance with that of Renaissance period.” Also, Satan’s youthful enthusiasm and vision are other aspects of the Renaissance. Satan’s lieutenant Beelzebub tells his friends that God has made another World and another species called ‘Man’. The new creature has more God’s courtesy more than angles. Now they needed to find out a new world. However, discovering the new world is a significantly dangerous task. They should attempt to seize that new place where humanity has been put. Satan intensely shows Machiavellian thoughts. It is a character which utilizes corrupt and extortion technique to make force and progress without acknowledging others. Similarly, the critics argue that “Satan employing hypocrisy and false logic can throw the dust into the eyes of followers and supporters and lead them to remain against the path of God.” Therefore, it can be said that he was the perfect Renaissance hero. Further, it is a profoundly symbolic poem. Moreover, if we search for the proposed significance content of the poem it is about the sonnet of the governmental issues of England. It is viewed as a public protestant epic. In this epic, Milton fundamentally condemned the Restoration. It is the result of religion and political strife that was going on around then. It is likewise a hypothetical and philosophical epic with thoughts of defiance and struggle. In this sonnet, the poetic persona discusses Adam and Eve, and the creation and why everything is made, and why Satan Revolt against the God, this hypothetical and philosophical thought is additionally reached out in understanding the contemporary social-political events. And it is also the biblical myth of fall and loss of Paradise. The clause of fall defines humanity and it is repeated. It is also about disobeying god, and this disobedience is something that we continuously do. Even though we know that we are instructed by God through the holy scripture in the major religion particularly the Abraham religion like Judaism Christianity and Islam, which thing has been seen from the Abraham religion. Milton himself was a radical revolutionary, he was always in favor of the Commonwealth; he was engaged distraught Charles the first. He was present in the execution of the king, and, surprisingly, he was not killed. The author depicts all those things in a sugar-quoting manner.

           To sum up, the image of Satan which Milton has spent in the primary book of Paradise Lost is exceptionally interesting and stupendous as the author very cleverly portrayed Satan as the hero of the Renaissance spirit. There is no uncertainty that Milton has utilized lovely and sensational forces for portraying Satan’s character. Besides, we have seen Satan is not just a dissident and despot, however, he has gallant characteristics additionally as we have seen he is courageous, solid, and benevolent. There is an excellent combination of epic formation and innovative greatness. The main idea of the epic is religious however the tone is classical. The author’s inner soul shakes to the incredible articulations of republican consciousness that he keeps in the statement of Satan. In the personality of Satan, the author had been represented Renaissance Pride, temper, wanted liberty, the ambition of power, and energy as a leader. The rising action of Paradise Lost emerges from the utmost desire and furious enthusiasm of Satan.   


                                                           Works Cited

Uddin, Rakib. “Satan, the Most Well-developed Character of Milton’s Paradise Lost: A Critical    

          Analysis.” International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, vol. 10, Issue. 11,  

           Nov. 2019. ULR, 

Pias. “Character of Satan in Paradise Lost, Book 1 by John Milton.” 13 Oct.   2020.


Jim, Jenkins. “Renaissance Leadership – Explorers for Future Success in Business”. HRM Guide


Sayeed, Noman. Lecture, Paradise Lost.