Satan as an Epic Hero

Discusses Satan as the possible protagonist of “Paradise Lost” by John Milton.

This paper discusses how Milton creates the character of Satan in the same manner as many of the epic heroes. Compares this character to other classic epic heroes such as “Beowulf” and Homer’s Odyssey. Shows how he possesses many of the characteristics of an epic hero: his stature, nobility, and epic feats.
Of some great Admiral, were but a wand(Book I, 283-94). Milton’s language in these two passages, with their extended comparisons and references to classical mythology, is of a truly epic scale. He describes Satan as a natural wonder whether or not he is good, it is impossible not to be impressed by his sheer scale. Similarly, initial descriptions of Beowulf give no concrete details of his stature, but evoke his noble appearance through references to what the hero is not:
Nor have I seen a mightier man-at-arms
on this earth than the one standing here: unless I am mistaken, he is truly noble. This is no hanger-on in a hero? armor (lines 247-251).