How is Satan a Hero in Paradise Lost?

In John Milton’s epic poem titled Paradise Lost, Satan is portrayed as a complex and compelling character, often described as a tragic hero. The question arises how is Satan a Hero in Paradise Lost?

While conventionally viewed as the personification of evil, Milton’s depiction of Satan presents him as a figure who possesses certain heroic qualities.


This depiction and portrayal challenge readers to examine the complexities of good and evil and to question their predetermined notions of what defines a hero. Let’s explore the reasons why Satan can be seen as a hero in Paradise Lost.

Table of Contents


How is Satan a Hero in Paradise Lost?

Charismatic Leadership: How is Satan a Hero in Paradise Lost?

Satan’s character exhibits charismatic leadership qualities that captivate both the fallen angels and the readers.

He possesses a commanding presence, eloquence, and a persuasive nature that allows him to rally his followers and maintain their loyalty.


Despite his rebellion against God, Satan’s ability to inspire and lead makes him a magnetic and influential figure.

Ambition and Determination

Satan’s unwavering ambition and determination are notable heroic traits. He rejects to accept downfall and determinedly chases his goals and leads his admirers in Hell, even in the face of apparently undefeatable challenges.


His inexorable pursuit of revenge against God showcases his unconquerable spirit and refusal to surrender. This tenacity resonates with readers and adds depth to his character.

Individual Freedom and Autonomy

Satan’s rebellion against God stems from his desire for individual freedom and autonomy. He rejects the idea of serving a higher power and seeks to establish his own dominion.

This pursuit of personal liberty resonates with readers who value individuality and the ability to make independent choices. Satan’s defiance against oppressive authority can be seen as a heroic act of resistance.

Complex Moral Dilemmas: How is Satan a Hero in Paradise Lost?

Milton portrays Satan as a character grappling with complex moral dilemmas. While his actions are driven by pride and a thirst for power, he also experiences moments of doubt and reflection.

Satan questions the righteousness of God’s rule and raises thought-provoking philosophical arguments. This internal conflict adds depth to his character, making him more than a one-dimensional villain.

Sympathy for the Underdog

Satan’s portrayal as an underdog evokes sympathy from readers. He has fallen from grace and faces overwhelming odds in his battle against God.

Milton highlights Satan’s suffering and isolation, presenting him as a tragic figure who has lost everything. This evokes empathy and makes readers question the hierarchy of power and the nature of justice.

Anti-Heroic Qualities

Satan’s heroism is also derived from his anti-heroic qualities. He challenges established norms, questions authority and embodies the spirit of rebellion.

These characteristics resonate with individuals who admire non-conformity and are skeptical of those in power. Satan’s defiance against the status quo adds depth to his character and distinguishes him from traditional heroic archetypes.

It is important to note that while Satan exhibits certain heroic qualities, he ultimately remains the antagonist of Paradise Lost. Milton’s intent is not to elevate and glorify Satan, but rather to show a multifaceted character that challenges traditional concepts of heroism and morality.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, Satan’s depiction as a hero in Paradise Lost is a consequence of his compelling leadership, ambition, willpower, pursuit of personal freedom, engagement with complex moral dilemmas, sympathy as an underdog, and anti-heroic qualities.

Milton’s portrayal prompts readers to question their understanding of heroism and consider the nuances of good and evil.

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