Speeches of Satan in Book I of Paradise Lost

Speeches of Satan

Speeches of Satan in Book I of Paradise Lost

In Book I of Paradise Lost Satan have been depicted as a heroic figure. Satan’s speeches in Book I create the impression that Satan is noble and great. Some of the critics believe that Milton was unconsciously projecting his own personality in the portrayal of Satan and that he was thus, unconsciously exalting Satan to the high status of a hero. This view, however, results from a misreading and a misinterpretation of Satan’s speeches. If is speeches are analyzed and examined dispassionately, it is recognized that the predominant impression is that Satan is the personification of evil. Milton even did not intend us to sympathies with Satan. In Book I Satan is the symbol of evil and is intent and bent upon ever doing evil and concerting good into evil. He seems to be dead against the merciful supreme God. In the following paragraphs his speeches are discussed.

First Speech of Paradise Lost

Satan, in his first speech, addresses his closest friend Beelzebub who was lying next to him. Satan admits that God proved stronger than the rebel-angels because of his use of Thunder. And that God’s true strength became known only during the battle that Satan and his comrades fought against God, “and till then who knew the force of those dire arms? Satan that he does not repent his rebellion against God, because he feels a great contempt for him due to his “sense of injured merit.” He claims though the field has been lost, all has not been lost, remains in him unlimited power, unconquerable will feeling of revenge, undying hated and courage never to submit and yield. He will never be reconciled with God. He proposes eternal war with the Heavenly Ruler-The Almighty, God Satan’s supreme self-confidence, his determination to continue the endless war against God, and his determination not to beg for God’s grace on suppliant knee are his heroic qualities worthy of admiration. These heroic qualities are good but evil intentions of Satan behind them are condemnable. Satan has undying hatred for God and a steadfast revenge- “And study of revenge, immortal hate. He is ready to wage a war against God “by force or guile. “These great virtues become vices on Satan with his evil intentions. They lover him to such an extent that reader ceases to sympathies with him in his ignorance of the physical strength of God and his claim to superiority over God in wisdom and experience is taken as mere hypocrisy.

Second Speech of Paradise Lost

In the second speech also Satan addresses his nearest comrade Beelzebub. He begins in the heroic style by advising him “to be weak is miserable, doing or suffering. “Satan seems to be an evil incarnate when he says that” to do ought good never will be task our task, but ever to do ill sole delight. If God seeks to bring forth good” out of the evil of Satan and rebel-angels, they must strive to prevent that out end “out of good still to find means of evil.” Satan finds the opportunity for mobilization of his comrades. He accepts God’s superiority when he says that the rebel-angels should take advantage of the opportunity when God has “recalled His ministers of vengeance and pursuit back to the gates of Heaven.” He asks the rebel-angels to re-assemble in order to decide how to overcome this dire calamity and what support to get from hope of victory over God and what strength from despair of the present sorrowful condition.

Third Speech of Paradise Lost

Satan’s third speech is also addressed to Beelzebub. It is very important speech and some lines of this speech are very famous and often quoted. This speech is very inspiring. He here shows his love of freedom and hatred of slavery which is the dream of every man and especially of Milton. He calls himself the new owner and ruler of Hell claims that he brings a mind not to be changed by “place or time.” The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” This is one of the noblest qualities of human-nature. As a lover of freedom he says “Here at least we shall be free”—he goes on, “To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell. It is better to reign in Hell; than to serve in Heaven.” Such statements are admirable and praiseworthy. Satan considers himself to be equal of God. God is the ruler of Heaven hence Satan will not like to serve in Heaven. Satan is so arrogant he can not think of being a subordinate even to the Almighty. God who is superior to him only because He has a store of thunder at His disposal. Satan’s fourth speech is addressed to the fallen-angels who lie confounded on the bed of fiery lake. In this speech he shows himself as a commanding leader. He addresses the fallen-angels as “Princes, and Warriors,” as if they were still in possession of their thrones and dignities in Heaven. These addresses though seem to be sarcastic but Satan’s intention behind using them is to encourage his downcast his downcast and hopeless fallen-angels. If they are reminded of their past glories, they are sure to get some strength and courage from their blissful past. Santiago in “Old Man and The Sea” by Hemingway recalls his glorious past many times when he is far in the sea alone, having hooked a marlin but unable to bring it to the shore due to his old age. Satan, further, warns them that they remain passive and inactive; God’s swift pursuers will transfix them to the bottom of Hell. With he help of these rhetoric and high sounding encouraging words Satan make his followers ashamed of themselves for their passivity, and they seem to be ready to do as directed by their leader-Satan.

Last Speech of Paradise Lost

Satan’s last speech in Book I of Paradise Lost is also addressed to his fallen-angels. It is also an encouraging and stirring speech. He calls the fallen-angels “O myriads of Immortal Spirits! O Power Matchless, But with th, Almighty!” He declares that the battle they have fought with God in Heaven was ‘not inglorious’ though the result was disastrous and dire. None could, on the basic of knowledge of past or experience of present, have anticipated that such a united and mighty force of angels could ever be defeated by God. In this way he restores their confidence in these fallen-angels, his comrades. Satan also tells them that still there is a bright hope for them to regain the blissful seat of Heaven. These powerful forces of the fallen-angels whose exile has emptied Heaven, will surely repossess their native seat, because God is the ruler of Heaven only by consent or custom or his regal position. They were defeated by God because they were not aware of the true strength of God which He kept concealed from them. No doubt Satan underestimates the power of God. But he declares that now he and his comrades have come to know the real strength of God, they will not provoke any war against Him but if a war is thrust on them by God, they will not avoid it, rather face it more bravely, They must try to achieve “by fraud or guile” what they could not attain by force. He tells his comrades that space may produce new worlds where God intends to place new generation of beings whom God will favor as the ‘Sons of Heaven’ Satan and his followers plan to find out the truth. They should not think of enjoying any peace or rest that will lead them to submission to God for which they are not in the least prepared. The only alternative for them was only war (war open or understood) must be resolved, Satan here speaks like a great leader. His oratory is appreciable. His appeal to his followers is irresistible. Satan is firmly determined to start a war against God by fraud or guile using wisdom and experience. He also wants to tell God that His triumph over the fallen-angels was by force therefore He has half triumphed them.

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