The success of Milton’s Paradise Lost owes much to the depiction of the main epicimage of Satan whose attributes enable him to achieve tragic status. Although Satan may be an epic machine, he is best portrayed as the tragic anti-hero of paradise Lost. The critics in the world have been concerning the image of Satan in Paradise Lost, whose complexity makes the poem more controversial.The reason why the image under Milton’s pen is so complex is that the Satan attracts the poet’s inner force, which drives him to change the people’s traditional ideas and cause resonance of all the revolutionaries.
Satan in the Bible is an image of devil. But in Paradise Lost, Satan challenges the authority of God and want to be free, he is a fighter for freedom. The poet portrayed Satan as a brave hero that went to get rid of god’s domination. In Paradise Lost, the Satan was the most successful image the author shaped.The allure of free will is where the attractiveness and power of Satan's character lies. Stanley Fish in his essay, ‘The Harassed Reader in Paradise Lost,” argues that Satan possesses a form of heroism which is easy to admire because it is visible and flamboyant and that, on that basis, Satan’s attractiveness is only initial. Milton was, undoubtedly, conscious that he was in danger of portraying Satan as too much of a heroic figure and made efforts to be little him through the use of unflattering imagery, and by highlighting his less complimentary characteristics.
Nonetheless, our emotions are still fired. Our first encounter with Satan and his rebel hosts occurs in Book I, when they are recovering from the shock of having been expelled from heaven by the Son after three days of fighting the angels of God. Despite the defeat he has suffered, Satan gains our admiration by displaying resilience in quickly coming to terms with the change in his circumstances, in remustering his forces and organizing the building of his palace, Pandemonium. At the same time he demonstrates his determination not to be defeated and shows true qualities of leadership, persuasively arguing that there is still hope for battle and victory. Satan is convincing in his first speech to Beelzebub, his chief partner in crime, as he declares: What though the field be lost? All is not lost; the unconquerable will, And study of revenge, immortal hate, And courage never to submit or yield: And what is else not to be overcome? That glory never shall his wrath or might Extort from me. Although Satan may be an epic machine, he is best portrayed as the tragic anti-hero of “Paradise Lost” or, at the very least, a main character who possesses the stature and attributes which enable him to achieve tragic status. In the Greek tradition, the essential components of tragedy are admiration, fear and pity for the ‘hero’， who has to display a tragic weakness or flaw in his character, which will lead to his downfall. It might be argued that the flaws in Satan’s character are such that we should feel no admiration, fear or pity for him, yet he can be seen to inspire these emotions. Satan’s tragic flaws are pointed out in Book I. They are envy, pride, and ambition towards self-glorification. Satan’s pride, in particular, is stressed throughout Paradise Lost.
The poet condemned God through Satan’s words. On the surface, God had given human free will; in fact, he had suppressed the true freedom.Obviously, the poet's criticism and condemnation of God were out from the social reality of United Kingdom. The tyrant was the embodiment of Stuart. Milton laid his own political tendencies in the great Satan. He portrayed Satan's resistance as the justice resistance to authoritarian rule and a bold challenge to the violent regime.