Obviously this literary classic has endured intense scrutiny, been the subject of many heated debates and has stood as a model for other works of its kind since Milton published the 12 books in 1674 after its initial appearance in 10 books in 1667. One of the most hotly contested themes, however, has been that the author intended Satan, the poem’s narrator, to be a hero, rather than the religious or historical presentation in our society that Satan is the root of all evil. Despite what many learned scholars surmise, Milton’s aim was not to have his readers glorify God’s former first hand man, but to impart how easily the human race can be deceived by dogma that is relayed in a way that appeals to the senses or to insecurities.
Milton does build Satan up as larger than life and provides him with personality traits that do indeed enable readers to identify or at least sympathize with him, but all along Satan’s goals are not honorable and the reader, no matter how well they are drawn in, must remember he was ejected from Heaven because he was selfish. That is why he is was never allowed the chance for redemption why man was after the Garden of Eden. Satan knew what he was doing, while Adam and Eve made a mistake. There is a vast difference.
Also, Milton did not believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church, as he felt scripture and faith alone were enough to justify salvation. At that the time, the Catholic Church, felt the Bible could only be understood through the teachings of the clergy.
Therefore, Milton was vehemently opposed to this view. As a reformed Protestant, he was considered quite the independent thinker of his time and even thought people should have the right to divorce. This thought process is evident in Paradise Lost with Milton’s portrayal of Satan and his version of the “Fall of Man” is completely the opposite of what most men of the cloth and their following would perceive the battle of Good vs Evil being. Milton illustrated it is not black and white, but has many shades of gray. Something that is most certainly true.