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The Impact of Satanic Rhetoric: Teaching Satan’s Unheroic Heroism in John Milton’s Paradise Lost
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This paper shows that certain aspects of Paradise Lost, such as ‘satanic rhetoric’, Milton’s treatment of the catalogue in the first book, and the Romantic reception of the poem in the late eighteenth century, challenge Satan’s heroic status. Through analysis of the rhetorical devices used by Satan and the other fallen angels at the Stygian Council in the second book of the poem, it becomes clear that their motivations and intentions are malevolent, and that their heroic status derives from other sources such as the political aims of artists and poets during the revolutionary era of the late eighteenth century. Furthermore, Milton’s personal religious affiliations and his treatment of the catalogue of fallen angels, wherein he is influenced Alexander Ross’ work in Pansebeia, undermine and degrade Satan’s heroic status. However, the ambiguity of Satan’s heroic or unheroic nature as imposed by disregarded aspects of Paradise Lost is advantageous in teaching the poem to students of English 7 in Upper Secondary School. The language barriers that the poem otherwise imposes are alleviated by everyday applications of the rhetorical devices found in satanic rhetoric and by the moral dilemmas concerning Satan’s heroic or unheroic nature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 27 p.
Keyword [en]
Satanic rhetoric, Stygian Council, Milton and Alexander Ross, catalogue of Paradise Lost, teaching Paradise Lost, heroic virtue.
National Category
General Literature Studies Pedagogy
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131521OAI: diva2:940795
Available from: 2016-09-02 Created: 2016-06-21 Last updated: 2016-09-02Bibliographically approved

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Sjöström, Alexandré
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