Antagonist of Heaven's Almighty King
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Antagonist of Heaven's Almighty King book
MILTON'S Satan has often been compared to Prometheus, and practically every critic has at least once used the epithet 'Promethean' to describe some of Satan's qualities. Already Newton had noted the affinity in his note to Paradise Lost, i. 94 ff.: 'Milton in this and other passages, where he is describing the fierce and unrelenting spirit of Satan, seems very plainly to have copied after the picture that Aeschylos gives of Prometheus.' He and the other commentators have pointed out various references which will in part be mentioned here. Again, Shelley1 was greatly affected by the similarity of the two characters, clearly identifying them to a certain extent. Amongst the moderns, the best-known statement is that in Raleigh's Milton:2
'Satan unavoidably reminds us of Prometheus, and although there are essential differences, we are not made to feel them essential. His very situation as the fearless antagonist of Omnipotence makes him either a fool or a hero, and Milton is far indeed from permitting us to think him a fool. The nobility and greatness of his bearing are brought home to us in some half-dozen of the finest poetic passages in the world.'