Throughout time, John Milton's Paradise Lost has been studied by many people and comprehended in many different fashions, developing all kinds of new interpretations of the great epic. Milton's purpose in writing the epic was to explain the biblical story of Adam and Eve. Although the epic is similar to the Bible story in many ways, Milton's character structure differs from that of the Bible's version. All through out the epic, Milton describes the characters in the way he believes they are. .
In Paradise Lost, he tells the story of Satan's banishment from Heaven. He and his army have plotted war against God and are now doomed to the fiery pits of hell. The complex character of Satan has many revolutionary qualities. Milton portrays Satan as a rebel who exhibits certain heroic qualities. It is evident through out the story that Satan's heroic power comes from his ability to lead and a strong influence to all in his presence. .
All the main characters in Paradise Lost are concerned with freedom. Those who understand true freedom know that it consists of obeying God's will without question. Those who do not understand it think freedom means being free from someone else's will and following your own. Satan is chief among them. Satan is so offended by God's announcement of the Son's equality with him that he wants to be free of what he calls "tyranny." .
Satan was one of the highest angels in Heaven and was know as Lucifer, meaning, light bearer. This shows that he once was a good angel. However, it was his pride that pushed him to speak out, "His pride/ had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host. / Of rebel angels, by whose aspiring/ To set himself in glory above his peers" (Milton Book I). It was because of Satan's pride that God banned him from heaven. Instead of following in God's shadow, as all angel do, Satan strived to become an individual. He would have lived a life in Paradise forever, but he had to follow his feelings as he states, "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven" (Milton 31).