In 1667, Paradise Lost was published, and people were absolutely astounded, and perhaps even shocked, by John Milton’s portrayal of the Devil (Lucifer to his friends). This was largely because the Bible is fairly enigmatic about Satan in the first place. It doesn't describe him in the slightest, and if the Bible doesn’t describe Satan, how do we know what he looks like? What’s the image of Satan based off of? In fact, who Satan is exactly, is a point of conflict between some theologians. The only things the Bible is crystal clear on is his coveting of God’s power, rebellion with God’s own angels, and his subsequent banishment to Hell as punishment.
Lucifer, in Paradise Lost, is a brooding fallen angel who rebels against God’s tyranny and declares his freedom despite his eternal imprisonment by an omnipotent child. Because the epic poem begins with such a relatable plight, many who read it instantly sympathize with him. And even though it’s a work of fiction, it answers so many longstanding questions that many of them have bled into biblical canon. Questions such as “Where did Satan come from?,” and, “What’s the story of Lucifer?” were finally answered for many of the devout.
But, perhaps what is just as astounding is the fact that John Milton was himself a devout Puritan, which is sort of like an extremist Protestant. Specifically, he was devoted to completely removing Catholic restraints on the Church of England. He simply wanted to pray in freedom. On top of that, most of Milton’s work is deeply political and he often criticized the monarchy for its ineffectiveness. Like Lucifer, he wanted the powers ousted. And like Lucifer, he was jailed for it.
John Milton sided with the Devil in regards to tyranny, and out of that partnership, he penned an epic 10,000 line poem that influences society’s perception of Satan to this day.
'Paradise Lost' Introduced The Idea Of Hell Existing Beneath The Earth
Satan Is A Sympathetic Antihero While God Is A Childish Bully
To Satan, Hell Isn’t A Place - It’s The Torment Of His Own Thoughts
Milton Wrote 'Paradise Lost' As A Political Allegory