Essay Title: 

paradise lost

March 27, 2016 | Author: | Posted in american literature, literature and language

PARADISE LOST : THE RECONCEPTUALIZATION OF THE EPIC HERO

2006

Strong , courageous , infallible : if anyone were asked to list characteristics of a hero , the

aforementioned words would likely top any list . History has created a clear archetype of the

hero . Who has embodied this symbol throughout history ? Many times , our heroes arrive in the

form of the warrior , a noble man who displays his heroic traits by fighting for his principles and

for his people . In literature , such men form the apex of epic heroic tales . Warriors such as those [banner_entry_middle]

p found in The Odyssey and Aeneid set the standard for generations of heroes to come . Few

readers questioned how violence and aggression beget heroism . Few , that is , until a liberal

philosopher in seventeenth-century London decided that he would create the English language ‘s

first epic tale (Barton , In This Dark World and Wide . The mighty military men of Homer and

Virgil would soon be challenged by a newer , most unlikely mold of hero In his epic classic

Paradise Lost , John Milton quite literally demonizes the traditional epic hero while glorifying

heroism in the Christian tradition .heroes defined not by victory but by defeat

The first portion of Paradise Lost reads much like a standard epic tale , with a rebellious

determined soldier planning an uprising against a presumed tyrannical ruler . This soldier

presents a rational , brave front in the face of his fortune , and many readers might be inclined

to sympathize with his plight . This soldier ‘s army has fought and resisted for an untold

amount of time , and for their efforts they receive cruel exile . But rather than wallow in sorrow

these soldiers convene a meeting , in the peaceful tradition of debate and compromise : to union

and firm faith , and firm accord (II .36 . Each soldier logically and eloquently argues for his

desired course of action , and our original soldier ‘s impassioned plea for further rebellion and

resistance in the face of dictatorship stirs his fellow troops : What though the field be lost

All is not lost – the unconquerable will .And courage never to submit or yield (I .105-108

Invigorated , they prepare to fight another day

This brave , valiant being must be the protagonist – indeed , the hero – of our story

Milton turns our assumption on its ear by assigning heroic traits to arguably the most cruel

evil , anti-heroic figure in history . The soldier whose military exploits and cool reasoning

the audience has become acquainted with is Satan himself . As critic Michael Bryson states in

The Tyranny of Heaven : Satan portrays himself as a prince entitled and even required to

resist an unjust monarch who is grasping for absolute power ‘ Milton has carefully constructed

an antagonist-almost-turned-protagonist who appeals to the audience because of his very human

ambitions and aims . He desires , he angers , and he acts . He presents a far more complex , and a

far more interesting , figure than the eternally smiling , eternally passive occupants of heaven

Satan speaks to the human psyche – and to untold impulses – just as all epic heroes… [banner_entry_footer]

Author:

This author has published 9453 articles so far. More info about the author is coming soon.
Did you like this essay sample?

You must be logged in to post a comment.