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: In Paradise Lost by John Milton, the protagonist of this Protestant epic is the fallen angel Satan. From a modern perspective it may appear that Milton presents Satan sympathetically, as an ambitious and prideful being who defies his tyrannical creator, omnipotent God, and wages war on Heaven, only to be defeated and cast down. This text is presented in its original double spaced poetic format. Satan, formerly called Lucifer, is the first major character introduced in the poem. He was once the most beautiful of all angels, and is a tragic figure who famously declares: "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven." Following his failed rebellion against God, he is cast out from Heaven and condemned to Hell. Satan's desire to rebel against his creator stems from his unwillingness to be subjugated by God and his Son, claiming that angels are "self-begot, self-raised," and thereby denying God's authority over them as their creator. Satan is deeply arrogant, albeit powerful and charismatic. Satan's persuasive powers are evident throughout the book; not only is he cunning and deceptive, but he is also able to rally the fallen angels to continue in the rebellion after their agonizing defeat in the Angelic War. He argues that God rules as a tyrant and that all the angels ought to rule as gods. Though commonly understood to be the antagonizing force in Paradise Lost, Satan may be best defined as a tragic or Hellenic hero. According to William McCollom, one quality of the classical tragic hero is that he is not perfectly good and that his defeat is caused by a tragic flaw, as Satan causes both the downfall of man and the eternal damnation of his fellow fallen angels despite his dedication to his comrades. In addition, Satan's Hellenic qualities, such as his immense courage and, perhaps, lack of completely defined morals compound his tragic nature. Satan's status as a protagonist in the epic poem is debated. Milton characterizes him as such, but Satan lacks several key traits that would otherwise make him the definitive protagonist in the work. One deciding factor that insinuates his role as the protagonist in the story is that most often a protagonist is heavily characterized and far better described than the other characters, and the way the character is written is meant to make him seem more interesting or special to the reader.  For that matter, Satan is both well described and is depicted as being quite versatile in that he is shown as having the capacity to do evil whilst retaining his characteristic sympathetic qualities and thus it is this complex and relatable nature that makes him a likely candidate for the story's overarching protagonist. By some definitions a protagonist must be able to exist in and of himself or herself and that the secondary characters in the work exist only to further the plot for the protagonist. Because Satan does not exist solely for himself, as without God he would not have a role to play in the story, he may not be viewed as the protagonist because of the continual shifts in perspective and relative importance of characters in each book of the work. Satan's existence in the story involves his rebellion against God and his determination to corrupt the beings he creates in order to perpetuate evil so that there can be a discernable balance and justice for both himself and his fallen angels. Therefore, it is more probable that he exists in order to combat God, making his status as the definitive protagonist of the work relative to each book. Following this logic, Satan may very well be considered as an antagonist in the poem, whereas God could be considered as the protagonist instead.