Paradise Lost By Milton
Leaving the underworld, once again, defeated by the heavens. Although John

Miltonís epic poem, Paradise Lost, is considered to be a tragedy, it displays
some reminders of a comic end. In its tenth book, when Satan returns to hell,
there is the realization of two of the poemís purposes: to "assert Eternal

Providence" and to "justify the ways of God to men." Book Ten is the end
of Satanís epic journey, portraying his return to hell. Throughout the poem,

Satan, a figure of legendary signifigance, goes on a heroic quest. A quest in
which he seeks power over Godís creations, Adam and Eve, to prove he will not
be subjected to Godís ways. Satanís passing into Godís paradise, the

Garden of Eden, unveils his valour. He uses his superhuman forces to transform
himself into a serpent and deceive Eve into eating a fruit from the forbidden
tree of knowledge. This proves to be a tragic decision on his part, for when he
returns home from his quest, he and the rest of the residents of hell are
transformed into serpents. This is their punishment for betraying the ways of

God. Satanís journey follows the usual tragic pattern, ending in horror. Due
to fact that Satan is an evil character, and attempts to use Godís own
creation against him, it is difficult for some to believe that he is the hero in
this epic story. In fact, Francis C. Blessington thinks of Satan as not a
classical hero but a classical villain: Satan is made the archetype of the
sophistical rhetoric, the shallow egotism, and the Stajan 2 destructive pride,
the vices of the classical epic as well as of the classical world. In addition,
he is the perversion of the classical heroic virtues. He often begins by
resembling a victim, sometimes even a perversion of that.... [He is] not a
classical hero but a classical villain who unheroically defeats creatures far
below him in stature (18). Though he may not seem to be a hero to the
conventional person, he still is the hero to the many leaders and followers in
the depths of hell. He believes that God is wrong in his ways, and therefore
tries to build an empire to replace the one in heaven. He has all of the
characteristics of a heroic figure; "Indeed, you canít be really bad unless
you do have most of the virtues. Look at Miltonís Satan for example. Brave,
strong, generous, loyal, prudent, temperate, self-sacrificing" (Bush 72). He
is the heroic figure, who believes that he can be better than God. However, he
finds that he is not powerful enough, and is brought to a tragic end. Although

Satan and the rest of his followers are tragically defeated, there are still
reminders of comedy toward the end of this epic. When Satan sets out on his
quest, his goal is to corrupt Adam and Eve, and persuade them to betray God. He
accomplishes this task, and rejoices in victory: For in possession such, not
only of right, I call ye and declare ye now, returned Successful beyond hope, to
lead ye forth Triumphant out of this infernal pit Abominable, accursed, the
house of woe, And dungeon of our tyrant!" (Milton, X. 461-466). This
accomplishment in itself is a huge deal for Satan and his followers. It is
because of him that man is disobedient, resulting in the harsh punishments
bestowed on the human race, by God. Stajan 3 In hopes of turning Godís naÔve
creation against him. He succeeds in his quest; the devil himself is the main
reason for hard child labour, death for all humans and the extinction of
paradise. To Satan, this is victory; this is his comic end. Throughout the poem,

Milton repeatedly "[justifies] the ways of God to men." In Book X, when

Satan returns to hell and informs his followers of his victory, they hiss at
him. They cannot help but hiss, for the reason that God turns them all into
snakes and serpents. God is in the right when he does this; after all, Satan
corrupted the entire human race. Satan persuades the naive Eve into thinking
that if she disobeys God, and eats an apple from the tree of knowledge, life
will improve. So as a punishment, God gives the snakes and serpents, "parched
with scalding thirst and hunger," sodom thirst-quenching apples (Milton, X.

556). These apples look to be appetizing, but instead they dissolve into ashes
when plucked from the tree. This punishment is a just one, within great reason.

Satan tricks Eve into eating the forbidden fruit,