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John Miltons Satan

John Milton: a poet, historian and pamphleteer. He was the son of


a Protestant, a person which was succesful in combining prosperous
business and a taste of learning and literature. By receiving the Latin
scholarship, Milton became renowned at ambridge as well as on the
ontinent, being introduced to other men of letters or litterature li!e J.
P. Manso, "ati, "eodati etc.
#he writings of Milton manage to re$ect his own convictions, the
passion for freedom and self determination, and also the urgent issues
and political turbulence of his day. He achieves international reown by
writing in %nglish, Latin and &talian.
#he '(ge of Milton) is the age of the %nglish *evolution, having
its beginning in the thirties and continuing to the *estoration of the
monarchy in the +,,-. ritical opinion about John Milton e.tends from
magniloquence, the deliberate exploitation of the possibilities of
magnifcence in language to a status comparable to that of
/ha!espeare.
#he need for internal reformation too! care of itself after the
*estoration, as the message of 'Paradise Lost), the greatest epic in the
language. #he outcome of a political decision was the birth of a world
classic, giving Milton the possibility of continuing his wor! on 'Paradise
Lost), published in +,,0. 'Paradise Lost, one of Milton1s well2!nown
poem was completed in +,,3, when Milton $ed from the great plague
of London to halfont.
#he poem raises a lot of 4uestions: if 5od is omnipotent, why did
He not prevent the fall6 &s He the origin of evil as well6 7hat about the
faith of (dam and %ve6 How did it happen6 But the most important
4uestion is '7hat about /atan, who and what is /atan6).
/atan is !nown to be the most emblematic symbol of 'Paradise
Lost), managing to lead the readers to the heart of Milton1s relevance.
Many critics have tried to give an opinion about 'this) /atan, but what
lecturer Paul /tevens said was remar!able, 4uoting: 'My goal is to wor!
through the historic phases of reception of Milton1 /atan since the
publication to the present day, and there seem to be three ma8or
phases: the 9rst one is the one that develops over the +:
th
century,
which is the Romantic Satan; the second one which develops over the
<-
th
century, through the e=orts of scholars and academics is what we
might call for the sa!e of argument the Academic Satan, and the third
one is what & thin! or & want to call Miltons Satan).
Before discussing about /atan, what is 'Paradise Lost)6 7ell, 9rst
of all, from the title, we seem to understand that it is about loss,
su=ering, pain, the things we most fear in life. (lso, we can go further
by saying it is a mystery > 7hy did it happen, that we were e.pelled
from the 5arden6 > from which we don1t understand pretty much.
(t a 9rst glance, Milton1s /atan doesn1t seem to have a biblical
image, but there was something that terri9ed people from the
beginning, and that is the representation of /atan. (ndrew Marvel, one
of Milton1s colleagues from the romwell 5overnement, was a little
unsure about the intent of the poem, wondering whether Milton would
ruin the /acred #ruths or not, with the *epresentation of /atan.
%ven today, Milton1s /atan fascinates the critics mainly because
its comple.ity is bigger than the "evil of the hristian tradition. &ts
rebelliouness, see! of transcendence, capacity for action endeared him
to certain types of minds, even if, at a 9rst glance, may be considered
theologically misleading.
7hile reading the 9rst speech of /atan in Boo! +, it is clearly
visible that there is a problem regarding the fact that no author until
Milton had written something li!e that. John Milton was obsessed with
colonial ventures, therefore it is no mista!e that his /atan, by giving
proof of lac!ness of imagination, he imagines a 'third way) of leaving
Hell and coloni?ing the new world which 5od inherited by this punic
creatures, called human !ind, rather than choosing a direct
confrontation with Heaven, or sitting in Hell, building an empire.
Milton encounters some di@culty in ma!ing the presentation of
/atan. He is not tal!ing about a human intelligence or presence, but an
angelic one, being the nature of which is almost impossible for the
human mind to grasp. However, even if not deliberately, Milton has
somehow implanted a certain sort of heroism in /atan. Aver all, in this
intensely dramatic statement, /atan renounces everything that1s good.
'#he impact of reading /atan became the orthodo.y over the
course of the +:
th
century), said lecturer Paul /tevens. ( 4uotation of
Ha?litt which was supposed to re=er to Milton1s /atan was 4uite
intriguant: '/atan is the most heroic sub8ect that was ever chosen for a
poem.). 7hile reading this, critics have wondered whether Ha?litt has
ever read the poem or not. &f we ta!e in consideration Ha?litt1s
description of /atan, we can imagine that /atan has no physical
deformity. #he actual image of /atan is not of a heroic 9gure, but the
one of a haos Monster, which 4uite puts in contradiction what John
Milton had done.
&n the beginning of the poem, /atan is directly drawn from the
Boo! of the (pocalypse. By the hristian scriptures, /atan is a beast,
therefore it is the consummated image of evil. By the end of Boo! +,
the reader can see the change of /atan, but it is not !nown why it
happened. %ven though these changes ta!e place, and all about those
great speeches are said, in the end it all resumes to one word >
fantasy. By reading the poem, more speci9cally entering Hell, you
actually enter /atan1s mind, not seeing things as they really are.
References:
+. (na2Maria #upan, British Literature An !er!ie", %ditura
BniversitCDii BucureEti, <--3, p. +:+2+:F
<. Guotes from lecturer Paul /tevens > Best Lecturer Hinalist, <--I
J. http:KKwww.+<Jhelpme.comKview.asp6idL+0JJ3
F. /amuel Holdsworth, Miltons Paradise lost, Paternoster *ow,
+:F-, p. Mliii
3. http:KKen.wi!ipedia.orgKwi!iKJohnNMilton