Some have criticized Paradise Lost for its sympathetic portrayal of Satan as a heroic and appealing character. At times, Satan’s actions seem somewhat justified: he considers himself to be an innocent victim, suffering alienation once exiled from Heaven. This begs the question: why is Milton’s Satan not more obviously “evil”? Why has the stereotypical, red, horned “Devil” been replaced by a somewhat sympathetic, fallen angel? Does this imply that Paradise Lost failed at its task of moral education, or that perhaps Milton’s own understanding of evil was ambiguous, unclear or incomplete? What Milton demonstrates in his sympathetic depictions of the devils, rather, is a far more complex understanding of the essential nature of evil as a strong, seductive force that one must resist with vigilance.
William Empson’s book Milton’s God is an account of Paradise Lost that associates God with a Stalinist tyrant (146). The primary association for this understanding is located in Empson’s critique of Milton’s God as a “neurotic parent” (116) who exposes his children to certain temptation, and ultimately orchestrates their Fall. For this author, it appears […]
New Criticism is primarily focused on the dialogue between the author, the work itself and the reader. It centers, however, upon the notion of a work as a separate entity for critical consideration, unlike the traditional Romantic approach in which the poet was the emphasis, and unlike the Empirical tradition in which the emphasis was […]
Though many have historically criticized Shakespeare’s early play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as shoddily written, re-examination of the text over the last several decades has leant new prestige to this entertaining ‘classic’. Most scholars agree that Shakespeare wrote A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a light and frivolous accompaniment to the celebration of a wedding; and […]
Manuel Puig’s novel Kiss of the Spider Woman consists almost entirely of extended dialogue shared between the two main characters of the novel, Molina and Valentin, who are two prisoners in a seedy Argentinean prison in the late sixties. Molina is a middle aged man who was incarcerated for his corruption of the youth, clever […]