Welcome to Scribd. Sign in or start your free trial to enjoy unlimited e-books, audiobooks & documents.Find out more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Satan as Hero - troubled viewings of the Fallen Angels as heroic rebels, from the Anglo-Saxon tradition to Milton.

Satan as Hero - troubled viewings of the Fallen Angels as heroic rebels, from the Anglo-Saxon tradition to Milton.

Ratings: (0)|Views: 31|Likes:
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards (Ireland) Competition by Sean Treacy. Originally submitted for CK101 at University College Cork, with lecturer Dr. Juliet Mullins in the category of English Language and Literature
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards (Ireland) Competition by Sean Treacy. Originally submitted for CK101 at University College Cork, with lecturer Dr. Juliet Mullins in the category of English Language and Literature

More info:

Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
See more
See less

12/16/2013

 
Satan as Hero troubled viewings of the Fallen Angels asheroic rebels, from the Anglo-Saxon tradition to Milton.Abstract
The aim of this essay is to examine the problematic portrayal of Satan as arebellious hero in texts dating from Old English and the Anglo-Saxon tradi-tion, continuing with Dante Alighieri’s
Commedia 
, right through to Miltonand the Renaissance.The essay also examines the possible reflection that such a depiction of Satan, through either allegorical or literal conventions, can cast on the periodin which each text was written.
Keywords
Satan, Dante, Milton, Old English, heroic.
 
1
How does the portrayal of the devil as a rebel and hero com-plicate our view of the heroic and what might it tell us about theheroes of the period in which these images/texts were created?
There is a wonderful moment of suspense in J.R.R. Tolkien’s
The Lord of the Rings 
, which occurs during the Fellowship’s flight from the host of orcs, deep within the Mines of Moria. Gandalf utters the words, ‘There issome new devilry here’ (430). It is, of course, the moment which preceedsthe arrival of the Balrog, Tolkien’s spectacularly dark and hellish entity.Yet this moment is made all the more interesting by Tolkien’s use of theword ‘devilry’. It emphasises the association of evil and malcontent withthe devil, more specifically, Satan, the most widely recognised antagonistof mankind in a religious context. Indeed, the very mention of the word‘devil’ transcends religion, as it connotes the resoundingly negative, whilenot necessarily referring to Satan himself.There is, then, an inescapable contradiction in any representation of Satanas a hero – he is the villain of the ages. Many failings of mankind have insome way conveniently been attributed to Satan. The heroic representationsof the devil that exist are a dichotomy and it is this curious aspect which weshall try to explore.The fire and shadow of Tolkien’s Balrog are a close link to Milton’s de-scription of hell in
Paradise Lost 
, with its ‘sulphur fires’, burning in ‘absolutedarkness’ (I.69-72). It is appropriate to begin with Milton’s text in the ex-amination of Satan’s heroic literary depictions. The Satan of 
Paradise Lost 
is perhaps one of the most sympathetic interpretations of the devil in ex-
 
2istence. The text recounts the series of events surrounding the fall of theangels and lends a sentimental perspective to the position of the Fallen. Weare presented with a image of Satan that portrays him as a vanquished mili-tary hero, suffering exile at the actions of a somewhat tyrannous God. Giventhe position of the devil in the collective conscience of society in general,we must ask why Milton constructs his Satan as an oppressed, heroic entity.One argument may be built around the very opening line of the text, whichreads:Of Man’s First disobedience, and the FruitOf that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tasteBrought Death into the World, and all our woe. (I.1-3)Milton’s opening words act as a poignant reminder of the shortcomingsof mankind. It is mankind that is guilty of its ‘First disobedience’, thusgranting Satan’s war on mankind a certain justification. It is this inherentcontradiction in
Paradise Lost 
which gives rise to the complication in ourdistinction between Satan the heroic rebel and Satan the corrupter. Thedevil’s oration and call to arms, beginning
in medias res 
, is too importantto overlook. By granting the position of orator to Satan, Milton establisheshim as the initial voice of authority. This is acheived by the aforementionedcommencement ‘in the middle of things’; the story of the Fall has not yetbeen told and we, the readers, are presented with the images of the devil andhis retinue, confounded and beaten. This is a significant vehicle for Milton’snarrative, upon which to build a representation of the devil which blurs ourview of the heroic and the rebellious; for it is here, with the Fallen, that our

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->