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 Why has the stereotypical, red, horned “Devil” been replaced by a somewhat sympathetic, fallen angel?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 […]
John Rawls’ “A Theory of Justice” has long seen been revered as a marvel of modern political philosophy. It’s most well-known for the two principles of justice outlined by Rawls: (1) that all persons have an equal right to liberty; and (2) that (a) all inequalities in society should be arranged to benefit the least […]
Both Orwell’s novel and essay carry a grave warning about the political powers of language. He uses his media to demonstrate not only how language can cloak truth, but also how language can be used as an ultimate tool for maintenance of totalitarian regimes. While language is usually thought to extend cultural considerations and improve one’s understanding of the world, Orwell’s works illustrate how it can, when used in a vicious political way, become an instrument against human consciousness.
Positive liberty, in the simplest sense, is freedom to, answering the question “Who governs me?”; it is the liberty of self-government. Negative liberty, on the other hand, is freedom from, and answers the question “How far does government interfere with me?”; it is the liberty of limited control by government.