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Milton, John (1975) Paradise Lost, New York: Norton Publication.

Nidhani, De Andrado (1998) Satan as Self-Deceiver in Miltons Paradise Lost,

Sabaragamuwa University Journal vol.1 no.1 , pp.77-85.

Stein, Arnold (1950) Satan: The Dramatic Role of Evil, PMLA 65:2, pp.221-231.
These lines reveal the complex and changing characteristics of Satan, perhaps the psychology

of a morally corrupted patient who from time to time is melt down into his imagination.

Correspondingly, Satan in his solitary mission changes his discourse as happened in his

character and sometimes condemns himself:

Nay cursd be thou; since against his thy will

Chose freely what it now so justly rues. (Milton 1975:87)
This definitely contradicts with Satans public accusations against God where he regards

himself as the protector and liberator of the fallen angels. Needless to say, Satan never uses

any self-condemnation and instead blames God for forcing him to fight (De Andrado


On the following lines, Satan becomes gloomier and continues to condemn himself by

saying in his soliloquy:

Me miserable! which way shall I flie

Infinite wrauth, and infinite despaire?
Which way I flie is Hell; my self am Hell; (Milton 1975:87)

Of self-deception in relation with self-condemnation, it is seen in Satan imaginary as

well as his contradicting mind that Satan practices a self-deception to convince himself that

the only alternative before him is to do evil, which he chooses to affirm (De Andrado

1998:79). With the dilemmas he experiences in his discourse and mind, Satan becomes a

confused and complex character.

solitary mission. This solitary mission will finally maximize his ambition and self-confidence

and sometimes to confuse and make him a very complex character with full of dilemmas.

Of his encountering with Chaos, Satan does everything to learn the way through Earth.

This clearly shows Satan at his utmost ambition. By promising Chaos, Satan reveals that he

will do everything to reach Earth and gets his revenge from the Almighty.

D. Beelzebub as continuing to be the Rational one

Beelzebubs rational proposal indicates his rationality as well as the contradiction he

experiences on either completely trusting Satans leadership or begging for forgiveness from

the Almighty. Beelzebub, however, does not expose such dilemma but puts forward a rational

proposal as was expected of him. This clarifies the counselling role of Beelzebub along with

an ambitious Satan.

E. Satan as Self-Deceiver and Self-Condemner

Satan in Book IV gets more complex and hard to understand, from time to time

contradicting with himself and what he is doing. Satan sometimes began to acknowledge God

as creator and benefactor by stating;

That bring to my remembrance from what state

I fell, how glorious once above thy Spheare;
Till Pride and worse Ambition threw me down
Warring in Heavn against Heavns matchless King:
Ah wherefore! he deservd no such return
From me, whom he created what I was
In that bright eminence, and with his good
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
What could be less then to afford him praise,
The easiest recompence, and pay him thanks,
How due! (Milton 1975:86)

Satan here seems feeling regret for what he has done against the matchless King and he

additionally admits that he acted unjustly against God who did not deserve such a bad return.
Despite the fact that Satan sees God as an irrational, angry tyrant, Beelzebub is willing to

recognize God as the Almighty, who has just won a battle.

"But what if he our Conqueror....

Have left us this our spirit and strength entire
Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
That we may so suffice his vengeful ire,
Or do him mightier service as his thralls
By right of War, whate'er his business be
Here in the heart of Hell to work in Fire,
Or do his Errands in the gloomy Deep.." (Milton 1975:12)

Beelzebub here puts forward his distinction from Satan, that he and Satan and the

defeated angels are nothing more than God's thralls.

"What can it then avail though yet we feel

Strength undiminisht, or eternal being
To undergo eternal punishment?" (Milton 1975:13)

Beelzebub here thinks differently from Satan who considered that their being of sound

mind and strength is an advantage to them, eventually leading them to glory. Beelzebub says,

through this rhetorical question, that it is of no advantage to have the strength undiminished,

since God can use the strength any way God likes.

C. Satan As Pursuing His Utmost Ambition And Self-Confidence

After Beelzebubs proposal to reach newly created Earth and human beings, Satan finally

decides to listen to the reasonable and rational Beelzebub with the councils agreement.

Having accepted the proposal, Satan steps forward to reach Earth and deceive mankind.

Satans attitudes towards this rational proposal of Beelzebub and his leadership on his mission

clarify the distinction: Satan is now becoming a different kind of leader: a leader in his
Correspondingly, Satan becomes ambitious again and again and avers his future actions

in his soliloquy that Gods kingdom has been shaken by his attack and starts to think of what

future may come for him;

All is not lost; the unconquerable will,

And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield (Milton 1975:11)

Satan here basically becomes hopeful and shows his utmost persistence and self-

confidence, believing that he has an unconquerable will that will never lead his submission to

God. This will can be connected to the idea of seeing Satan as again a freedom fighter whose

will are being attempted to be broken by God.

B. Beelzebub as Rational
Beelzebub, as being the lieutenant in Satans war, makes conversations with Satan on

the previous war and the future actions. After his leaders commitment on the continuity of

warring against God, he slightly differs from Satan and becomes a more reasonable character.

Whereas Satan is fearlessly wants to attack God, even though he will use more subtlety this

time, Beelzebub isn't quite as eager to do so. Moreover, Beelzebub realizes that the mind and

the spirit have returned and indeed "remain invincible":

As far as gods and heavnly essences

Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains
Invincible, and vigor soon return (Milton 1975:12)

In this regard, Beelzebub seems to be more psychologically tormented than Satan or,

more accurately "realistic" in his assessment of things. He now confesses that God is, in fact,

the "Almighty" because;

Of force believe almighty, since no less

Than such could have oerpowred such force as ours (Milton 1975:13)
continues to believe that he is so strong, superior and brave. As can be seen in the soliloquy,

he does not care about the consequences of his future actions:

What matter where, if I be still the same

And what I should be, all but less then hee
Whom Thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; th Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heavn.
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
Th associates and copartners of our loss
Lye thus astonisht on th oblivious Pool,
And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy Mansion, or once more
With rallied Arms to try what may be yet
Regaind in Heavn, or what more lost in Hell? (Milton 1975:16)

Satan still aspires to get back to heaven and defeat God in the battleground so that he

could be the king of Heaven. He is ambitious and has the utmost self-confidence. He has

nothing to fear since he is now known as the cruel and betrayer. He is so desperate to start his

evil actions no matter what happens. Satan also knows that his scheme will go far enough:

To do ought good never will be our task,

But ever to do ill our sole delight,(Milton 1975: 13)
Additionally, on the same purpose, Satan asserts:
Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil; (Milton 1975:13)

Of Miltons depictions of Satan, one may consider again the feeling of heroism,

hugeness, strength. Though he is chained in the lake, Satan as a fallen angel is portrayed just

like a freedom fighter that has just warred against the tyranny and oppression.

Prone on the Flood, extended long and large

Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
As whom the Fables name of monstrous size,
Titanian, Or Earth-Born, that warrd on Jove, (Milton 1975:14)
I. Introduction

Satan and Beelzebub, as having leading roles in launching war against God, have been

interpreted and written about by John Milton in a very distinct and complex way. Especially

the way he depicted Satan, the Fallen Angel, has long been debated. However, this very way

and uniqueness in interpreting such magnificent subject made Milton even more popular. Of

this uniqueness and distinction, the depictions and meanings Milton puts into characters of

Satan and Beelzebub are the one that leads controversies and makes Milton a great poet. In

regard of this, it seems necessary at the outset to state that the characteristics of both Satan

and Beelzebub in Paradise Lost changes according to the new conditions Milton puts them

into in Book I, II and IV. It is considered that Satan in first two books are depicted and

characterized as a heroic, brave and having utmost self-confidence while he gets into a more

desperate and miserable character in Book IV. Moreover, such distinction appears on different

levels. It is acknowledged that the main difference between the Satan of the first two books

and the later Satan is the difference between a leader making a public appearance and a leader

on a solitary mission (Stein 1950:223). Having accepted this fact, the paper will try to

analyze the characters of both Satan and Beelzebub on the basis of this character change

process. Some of the soliloquies of Satan will be analyzed in the pursuit of understanding

Satans later role as alone on his solitary mission. Beelzebub will correspondingly be

analyzed in his conversations with Satan and as having the lieutenant role among fallen angels

alongside the leader.

A. Satan as Having The Brave and Heroic Role

In the first book of Paradise Lost, Satan is characterized in his soliloquy as very brave

and heroic. However, Satan is brave when it comes to physical action though he has been

informed that he is no longer superior and strong after his war against God. However, Satan