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Paradise Lost A Comedic Tragedy So oft they fell Into the same illusion not as man Whom they triumphed once lapsed Thus were they plagued Milton Book X 570-72 Leaving the underworld once again defeated by the heavens Although John Miltons epic poem Paradise Lost is considered to be a tragedy it displays some reminders of a comic end In its tenth book when Satan returns to hell there is the realization of two of the poems purposes to assert Eternal Providence and to justify the ways of God to men Book Ten is the end of Satans epic journey portraying his return to hell Throughout the poem Satan a figure of legendary signifigance goes on a heroic quest A quest in which he seeks power over Gods creations Adam and Eve to prove he will not be subjected to Gods ways Satans passing into Gods paradise the Garden of Eden unveils his valour He uses his superhuman forces to transform himself into a serpent and deceive Eve into eating a fruit from the forbidden tree of knowledge This proves to be a tragic decision on his part for when he returns home from his quest he and the rest of the residents of hell are transformed into serpents This is their punishment for betraying the ways of God Satans journey follows the usual tragic pattern ending in horror Due to fact that Satan is an evil character and attempts to use Gods own creation against him it is difficult for some to believe that he is the hero in this epic story In fact Francis C Blessington thinks of Satan as not a classical hero but a classical villain Satan is made the archetype of the sophistical rhetoric the shallow egotism and the Stajan 2 destructive pride the vices of the classical epic as well as of the classical world In addition he is the
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