Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Milton and Satan: my pre-write

Hey, so here’s my basic outline. I'm taking elements from my previous blogs: 

-Intro/thesis: I want to compare personality traits between Satan and Milton, particularly in their views of the Church, or in this case authority over religion. The fact that Milton is channeling his own views and personality into the character Satan of Paradise Lost suggests that Milton is portraying himself as an anti-hero that is fighting against the authority of the Church.

-Milton has a tendency to include autobiographical elements into Paradise Lost. This is shown as he portrays himself as the poet that is telling the story of Paradise Lost. 
  • Quote from book 1, very beginning, and book 3, very beginning.   
  • Maybe quote from that article I found.

-Show similarities between Milton’s personality and Satan’s personality, in that both are very ambitious and see themselves as great figures.
  •       Quote from book 1: very beginning and part of Satan’s monologue
  •       Quote from one of his poems, maybe "Il Penseroso"

-Both Satan and Milton have issues with the authority. Milton writes vehemently against the prelaty and authority of the church, Satan fights against God. Both are considered radicals because of this.
  • Quote book 5, in Satan’s argument showing his views of God
  • Quote from Prelaty, showing  Milton’s view of the Church authority

-Talk about how Milton and Satan see themselves as heroes, ones who had the duty to expose the wrongs of the authority of the Church.
  • Quote book 6
  • Quote Of Reformation and Prelaty

-Show that while Satan perceives himself as a great hero, or perhaps savior of his people, he also sees himself as this fallen creature and eventually is portrayed as a lowly serpent. Explore what this might mean for how Milton could view himself.
  • Quote book 1, book 9, book 10
  • Quote "Il Penseroso" to show Milton’s tendency for the dark hero

-Conclusion: Milton has portrayed himself as a type of anti-hero through his character Satan. This could mean that whatever Milton had been fighting against, perhaps he realized that he might have been wrong in some aspects. Perhaps Paradise Lost was a way for him to acknowledge that, and show that some of his radical views may not have been correct.


  1. I like where this is going. In order to tighten the thesis, you may want to consider just looking at Of Reformation or Against Prelaty in comparison with Satan in Paradise Lost. That way you could tighten your thesis and put more of your own critical analysis in the paper.

    It will be interesting to read what biographical points you bring up.

  2. Heather, I am very intrigued by this! What a cool idea to compare the political radicalism of Milton and Satan, as well as their own perceptions of themselves. It might be tricky to find texts where Milton calls himself a great figure, but the fact that he does incorporate so much of himself into ALL his texts is pretty supportive. His blindness, his marriage (how he thinks everyone should get divorced because he had a bad marriage)...etc. I'm excited to see what you come up with!

  3. Exploring the rhetorical similarities between Satan and Milton's arguments for their causes could be interesting in this context. In response to Ashley's concern about finding Milton calling himself a great figure this may also be helpful. He may not say it directly but the way he sets himself up as the reasonable and more intelligent in his arguments could be interpreted as viewing himself above others. For example saying things like, "No man who knows aught can be so stupid to deny that all men naturally were born free" from the tenure of Kings and Magistrates.