"What though the field be lost?
All is not lost-the unconquerable will.
And study of revenge, immoral hate,
And courage never to submit or yield.
And what is else not to be overcome?"
Satan as Hero of Milton's Paradise Lost
Hero is the character who is the centre of the reader’s attention. Milton has placed Satan right in front of his readers and directly in their imaginations. Satan remains the most dominant figure in Paradise Lost. He made Satan himself, the old enemy of God, the hero, or at least candidate for hero, of his poem. In trying to justify God’s way to man, Milton actually accomplishes the opposite as demonstrated by Satan.Milton’s case focuses not so much on the roles of God or Adam and Eve, but on the actions of Satan. Milton’s primary defence of God is a conflated portrayal of Satan so vivid and compelling that a reader is likely to identify with the Arch-fiend.
Milton’s Satan is a leader whom we would follow unto the gates of Hell. We know he has a plan. We know he has our interests in mind. We know he cares for us in his heart. He is a politician whom we unwaveringly believe when he exhorts, “Yes, we can!” And he is so good that we fail to realise he is deceiving us— and perhaps himself.
Milton’s Satan contains elements of the hero in classical tragedy. Satan’s fatal flaw is a fundamental lack of self-knowledge; he has no ability to recognise his own limitations. He never seems to realise that he can never win in a contest between the Creator and the created being.
Satan can rightly be called the hero, or more accurately, the anti-hero. Like the gods, Milton has set up Satan as a tragic hero in order to destroy him. Milton unknowingly turns Satan into a metaphor for the ultimate sinner. Though Milton offered his Satan as a mockery of sin and evil, he created a character so real and so human that one can’t help but be drawn to him.