Paradise Lost is an “epic” poem in every sense of the word. Long, mystical, and controversial, it certainly elicits a lot of thought. One discussion to be had is the idea of heroism as portrayed by the poem. My contention is that Satan is the hero of the story. Paradise Lost is a poem filled with puppets, people who follow the orders of others without utilizing very much thought of their own. Satan, on the other hand, actually believes in something.
He does not obey just to obey. He has the courage and intelligence to follow his own path. First and foremost, it is Satan’s leadership quality that makes him heroic. Unlike Adam and the angels and some of those other bland characters, Satan takes initiative and calls his own shots. He doesn’t care what God or anyone else thinks. He relies on himself to find motivation and make important decisions.
He lives by the phrase “better to reign in hell, than serve in heav’n” (Milton, 1.
263). As a result, he is followed by a clan of his own, which ultimately rivals that of God. Secondly, Satan is consistent and true to what he stands for. Adam and Eve are pretty much losers in the sense that everything they do is the result of what somebody else says. They believe in whatever God believes. Eve even believes what snakes say; that is just pathetic. They have no real opinions on anything. Satan, on the other hand, relies on his own mind. He demonstrates this when he explains to Bielzebub that “the mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n” (Milton, 1.254-5).
Satan has strong beliefs, and puts his effort into carrying out the actions that correspond to what he believes in. Lastly, Satan has the courage and confidence to take on God. Not many people or objects, or whatever Satan is, have such valor. Indeed, his ultimate goal is to win the Mount of God, and on His throne to set the envier of His State, the proud Aspirer” (Milton, 6.686-90). He believes and has faith in hell, and is willing to try to improve it and make it better than anything God has seen or created.
He is innovative and enterprising, ready for whatever challenges come his way. He does not fear God because he believes in the power of his own thoughts and actions. In conclusion, every character in this poem including the author is a pansy except for Satan, who is a boss and unquestionably the hero of the poem. Without Satan, this poem would lack the flavor, uniqueness, and action that he provides. His heroic presence makes the story interesting and exciting. He is thus undoubtedly the hero of Paradise Lost.