How does John Milton portray Satan in his poem, “Paradise Lost”? In this epic poem, Satan’s traits include pride, treachery, and persistent spitefulness. I believe that these character traits compare to the leadership of Howe Military School.
Satan commits many prideful acts throughout the poem. This shows when Milton writes, “what time his pride / Had cast him out of Heaven, with all his host / of rebel angels, by whose aid aspiring / To set himself in glory above his peers”(36-39). This line states that God threw Satan from Heaven because of his sin of pride in trying to set himself above his peers. The actions of certain Howe Cadet leaders compare to the pride of Satan when they over extend their power beyond the boundaries set forth by the school. His pride caused him to over extend his power, and commit his next error.
Milton writes, “He trusted to have equaled the Most High, / If he opposed; and with ambitious aim / Against the throne and monarchy of God / Raised impious war in Heaven and battle proud / With vain attempt”(40-43). This line shows that Satan’s pride caused him to believe he was equal to God. That belief led him to betray God, attempting to create a coup in Heaven. This action compares to Howe Cadet leaders when they betray other cadets, in vain, to gain more power. Satan thrived off the power he had in Heaven and tries to gain more, just as Cadet leaders often do. When he fails to gain more power, he looks to take revenge against those who resisted him.
After God throws Satan from Heaven, Satan realizes his mistake in underestimating the power of God and becomes spiteful. He refuses to accept his punishment and looks for a way to offend Heaven. This is shown when Milton wrote, “As being the contrary to his high will / Whom we resist. If then his providence / Out of our evil seek to bring forth good, / Out labor must be to pervert that end, / And out of good still to find means of evil”(161-164). Satan instructs his minions to go out into the world and to work to disrupt acts of good and commit acts of evil. Howe Cadet leaders often act in this spiteful manner when they meet resistance in their attempts to expand their power. The leaders order cadets to commit acts of an extremely offensive nature to get revenge.
In John Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” the poem portrays Satan as a prideful, treacherous, and spiteful being. After reading the epic poem, I believe that Satan could have acquired his character traits and leadership skills at Howe Military School. I find that most of the Cadet leaders at Howe Military School properly portray Milton’s image of Satan.