The Satan of Milton’s Paradise Lost is often regarded in literary criticism as a remarkably complex character. Introduced to the readers as a fallen angel with a grudge against the almighty powers that be in heaven and a burning passion for vengeance, Satan receives more characterization and motivation than any other character in Milton’s epic including God Himself, who mostly operates in the background of the story.
Because of the time spent familiarizing readers with Satan and his pathos and the ambiguity of God’s overall plan in comparison, Satan ultimately ends up feeling much more human to readers than the God he rails against. Some even claim he’s the story’s “true” hero. However, a brilliant literary tactic lies in Satan’s characterization, and that’s how quick it is to mistake Satan’s comparatively human nature to God as a sort of moral superiority.
An analysis of Satan’s core ideology throughout Paradise Lost makes it clear that, while Satan may be more of a human character than God, he’s not the tragic antihero he paints himself as by any stretch of the imagination. It’s easy to just dismiss the depiction of Satan as the tragic protagonist of Paradise Lost with the idea that he being Satan is simply lying about every part of his motives, ideology, and system of beliefs. However, such a reading too quickly overlooks the nuances to the character revealed throughout the text. One does not need any