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Laurel
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Who is the hero of Paradise Lost?

Paradise Lost is an epic poem and an epic poem traditionally has an epic hero. So who is the hero of Paradise Lost? Is it the one named in the first line--man? Is it the one who is so prominent in the early books--Satan? Is it God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit? Is it someone or something else? Or is there a traditional hero?
Here is a thread for discussing those questions.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Laurel
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Re: Who is the hero of Paradise Lost?

Here is a new thought on the question:

http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/milton/patel2.htm
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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KristyR
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Re: Who is the hero of Paradise Lost?

Thanks Laurel, I found that essay very interesting. I am having a hard time at this point (I've only read through Book 4) coming up with anyone truly heroic, and I like the idea of it not having to be any one concrete individual.
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Re: Who is the hero of Paradise Lost?

[ Edited ]
Interesting. This actually chimes with the kind of 'cosmology' that I ascribe to, so I find the idea useful. Surely in that respect the Spirit is the opposite of the devil, Satan, chaos, fear. The light bearer. And the work is silently heroic.

Also I wouldn't see the movement from chaos to order as a one time happening (possibly so in the creation myth), but it is a rather continuous process of constant movement and renewal, an energy moving through stages of order and disorder, falling apart and rebuilding.
If nothing else then our bodies are the examples of that.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 05-02-200712:19 PM

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Peppermill
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Re: Who is the hero of Paradise Lost?

Stumbled across this today:

"To Romantic poets such as Blake, Shelley, and Byron, Satan could be seen as the true hero of Paradise Lost. The Satanic/Byronic hero had an enormous impact on nineteenth-century literature and continues to influence our way of reading Paradise Lost.

1. "Is there anything in Milton's sources, or in the events of his own life, which could have suggested the idea of Satan as hero? Is there anything to suggest that Milton consciously intended such a portrayal?
2. "Is it conceivable that a man of Milton's learning and reflectiveness could have been, as Blake claims, 'of the Devil's party without knowing it'?
3. "To what extent do Blake's and Shelley's comments on Satan's character accord with your own response to the first two books of Paradise Lost? If you have seen Satan as a hero, are you 'of Blake's party without knowing it'?"

http://www2.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/17century/topic_2/explorations.htm

Incidentally, this is a wonderful site with a depth of links to PL material. (But not as delightful as the site of illustrations Laurel brought us today.)
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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leakybucket
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Re: Who is the hero of Paradise Lost?


ziki wrote:
Interesting. This actually chimes with the kind of 'cosmology' that I ascribe to, so I find the idea useful. Surely in that respect the Spirit is the opposite of the devil, Satan, chaos, fear. The light bearer. And the work is silently heroic.

Also I wouldn't see the movement from chaos to order as a one time happening (possibly so in the creation myth), but it is a rather continuous process of constant movement and renewal, an energy moving through stages of order and disorder, falling apart and rebuilding.
If nothing else then our bodies are the examples of that.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 05-02-200712:19 PM






Interesting idea, Ziki. I just started Tai Chi classes so I'm "brushing up" on Taoist philosophy and that is the way they see it. Order/disorder, good/evil, light/dark etc.--the yang/yin principle. One cannot exist without the other and everything is constantly fluctuating between the two. So if this principle were applied to PL both God and Satan fluctuate in dominance and importance in the epic, more so if you factor in Paradise Regained. If either good or evil were eliminated, the world would cease to exist.
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Re: Who is the hero of Paradise Lost?



leakybucket wrote: So if this principle were applied to PL both God and Satan fluctuate in dominance and importance in the epic, more so if you factor in Paradise Regained. If either good or evil were eliminated, the world would cease to exist.




The duality is the principle of manifestation. I also see it as god actually transcends both good and bad.

ziki
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PaulK
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Re: Who is the hero of Paradise Lost?

I find this an interesting and perhaps challenging question. I am through 8 chapters and believe God the Son is the likely epic hero. He has performed two heroic acts: defeating Satan forcing him out of heaven and carrying out the creation. I suspect that He will have more of a role later. God the Father could be the epic hero but it is the Son who carries the action. I can't believe that Milton's beliefs would allow him to have Satan as a hero. This far I do not see any heroic actions by Adam or Eve. They are the results of God's creation and the target of Satan's plans.
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Laurel
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Re: Who is the hero of Paradise Lost?

God the Son is a very good choice. At the beginning of Book 9 Milton mentions the three great classic epics again and lets us know that this is a new kind of epic that calls for a new kind of hero. Let us know what you think when you get there. And congratulations on all that reading!



PaulK wrote:
I find this an interesting and perhaps challenging question. I am through 8 chapters and believe God the Son is the likely epic hero. He has performed two heroic acts: defeating Satan forcing him out of heaven and carrying out the creation. I suspect that He will have more of a role later. God the Father could be the epic hero but it is the Son who carries the action. I can't believe that Milton's beliefs would allow him to have Satan as a hero. This far I do not see any heroic actions by Adam or Eve. They are the results of God's creation and the target of Satan's plans.


"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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PaulK
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Re: Who is the hero of Paradise Lost?

I have just finished the entire book. I had originally thought that God the Son was the only good choice as hero, but now I feel Adam is also a possible hero. It is his repentance that makes him a possible hero. I do think God the Son is the most likely hero since it is his sacrifice that leads to man's salvation.

I will be traveling a lot by car the next couple of days and will listen to as much of the tapes as possible.
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Laurel
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Re: Who is the hero of Paradise Lost?



PaulK wrote:
I have just finished the entire book. I had originally thought that God the Son was the only good choice as hero, but now I feel Adam is also a possible hero. It is his repentance that makes him a possible hero. I do think God the Son is the most likely hero since it is his sacrifice that leads to man's salvation.

I will be traveling a lot by car the next couple of days and will listen to as much of the tapes as possible.




Congratulations, Paul. I just finished, too, and I agree with you about heroes. As I read the end of Book 10, I thought, "How different this is from Satan's reaction!"

So spake our Father penitent, nor Eve
Felt less remorse: they forthwith to the place
Repairing where he judg'd them prostrate fell
Before him reverent, and both confess'd [ 1100 ]
Humbly thir faults, and pardon beg'd, with tears
Watering the ground, and with thir sighs the Air
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeign'd, and humiliation meek.

Christ, of course, is the hero in the long run, giving His life for repentant humanity. And Satan is a hero after the old Greek style of hero, a style which Milton seems to me to have some doubts about.

I know that I am going to be listening to my recording many more times.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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PaulK
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Re: Who is the hero of Paradise Lost?



Laurel wrote:


PaulK wrote:
I have just finished the entire book. I had originally thought that God the Son was the only good choice as hero, but now I feel Adam is also a possible hero. It is his repentance that makes him a possible hero. I do think God the Son is the most likely hero since it is his sacrifice that leads to man's salvation.

I will be traveling a lot by car the next couple of days and will listen to as much of the tapes as possible.




Congratulations, Paul. I just finished, too, and I agree with you about heroes. As I read the end of Book 10, I thought, "How different this is from Satan's reaction!"

So spake our Father penitent, nor Eve
Felt less remorse: they forthwith to the place
Repairing where he judg'd them prostrate fell
Before him reverent, and both confess'd [ 1100 ]
Humbly thir faults, and pardon beg'd, with tears
Watering the ground, and with thir sighs the Air
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeign'd, and humiliation meek.

Christ, of course, is the hero in the long run, giving His life for repentant humanity. And Satan is a hero after the old Greek style of hero, a style which Milton seems to me to have some doubts about.

I know that I am going to be listening to my recording many more times.




Speaking of the recording I just drove 16 hours the last two days and finished listening to the first 10 chapters. I am using the Lesser version. I am amazed how much easier it is to follow the story by listening. I would have suspected the other way around. Lesser does a fantastic job and it changed my view of the book. It is beautiful to listen to.
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mj5202323
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Re: Who is the hero of Paradise Lost?

Hey guys

my teacher said that there are four hero in the paradise lost

the four heroes are:
1. the devil, Satan

2.Byron

3. Milton himself

4.Jesus, the second Adam

does anyone agree? and tell me why??
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Peppermill
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Re: Who is the hero of Paradise Lost?



mj5202323 wrote:
Hey guys

my teacher said that there are four hero in the paradise lost

the four heroes are:
1. the devil, Satan

2.Byron

3. Milton himself

4.Jesus, the second Adam

does anyone agree? and tell me why??




MJ -- welcome! That sounds like a multiple choice question? Read the material on this thread and board for the viewpoints that have already been expressed here, including the paper linked in one of the posts above.
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy