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Literature: John Milton

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Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines hero as the principal male
personage, usually of noble character in a poem, story, drama, or the like
regarded as a model. Milton's Paradise Lost presents the reader with characters
that could be considered models as heroes. Satan, or Lucifer, qualifies for this
distinction. In Paradise Lost, Satan, God's favorite, is cast out of heaven.
Lucifer had to be outstanding at one point in time in order to share in God's
grace. Only Lucifer's choice, in line 39 "To set himself in glory above his
peers," committed him to a fall from grace. Satan must have possessed
character attributes fit for a king to be held in such high esteem by God. Only
through pride and self-conceit did Lucifer earn God's wrath. For example, in
line 84, Beelzebub says, "If thou beest he... but O how fallen! how changed
From him, who in the happy realms of light Clothed with transcendent brightness
didst outshine Myriads though bright--." The key here is "how
changed," denotes both "good" and "bad" traits with
emphasis on "good" at one time. Satan displays how easy it is to be
"good" and receive God's grace, thus denoting Satan's choice in trying
to capture God. It is difficult to look upon Satan as "good" but by
Satan's choosing to defy God and his kingdom, it implies that Satan does indeed
have a "good" side to his character and the aspect of choice, whether
good or bad, is irrelevant to the differing sides of Satan's character. Only the
absence of choice would make someone inherently good or bad. As a result of
Satan being revered by God, and his ability to make his own decisions, these
characteristics asist to portray aspects of heroism in Luciferís character.
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