A Literary Visionary: Milton and His Satanic Verses

…”hurld headlong flaming from th’ Ethereal Skie with hideous ruin and combustion down to bottomless perdition, there to dwell in Adam-antine Chains and penal Fire.” This was one part of “Paradise Lost” that I was asked to memorize for a course called “The Devil in Literature”. After reading the book we were asked to write an essay. Was Satan a villain or a hero? Guess which side I defended.

“Had it not been for John Milton, the hobbits might never have had their peaceful lives threatened by Sauron, Harry Potter might have completed his Hogwarts education untroubled by Lord Voldemort, and Lyra might never have received the unwelcome attention of Mrs Coulter or Lord Asriel.

Born 400 years ago, Milton is the poet who brought Satan into English literature. Though other writers had conjured up minor devils, none had dared recreate the arch-fiend himself. Even the Book of Genesis, which offers an introductory course in what Satan does and why he is to be avoided, but does not tell us what he is actually like. Then in 1667, an ageing, blind poet, whose books had been burnt by order of King Charles II, produced an epic that filled 10 volumes, and retold the story of Genesis as never before.”

(via The Independent)

1 Comment

  1. I remember that moment, realizing that Lucifer was a hero and that God was the villain in the story.

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