Notes on Characters from Paradise Lost

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Paradise Lost Major Characters

God: He creates the universe, heaven, hell, angels and man. He is omnipresent and omnipotent, but bestows man with free will to decide his actions. God is father of the Son, upon whom he bestows the power to judge man. Satan rebels against God, doubting his omnipotence and challenging his authority.

Satan: God's adversary. Once one of the highest-ranking Archangels in heaven (known as 'Lucifer' there), Satan's pride and rebellion cause him to be thrown down into hell, where he rules and establishes Pandemonium. He eventually destroys Paradise by assuming the shape of a serpent and tricking Eve into eating from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. He is the father of Sin and Death.

Son: God's son and equal, who is given the power to judge man. He offers to become mortal to save man, but after crucifixion, he is resurrected. He is given the glory in quelling Satan's rebellion. He also confronts Adam and Eve after their transgression and, after clothing them, doles out their punishments.

Adam: The first human, created by God. The husband and 'ruler' of Eve, who was created from his rib. He is warned by Raphael not to transgress. He decides to join Eve in her mortality and against his better knowledge, follows her and eats the forbidden fruit. His punishment includes hard labor in the field and mortality.

Eve: The second human, created from Adam's rib. Adam's wife and often described both seductively and submissively. She is tricked by Satan into eating the forbidden fruit, and receives the punishment of becoming mortal and suffering pain in childbirth.

Raphael: The Archangel sent by God to warn Adam and Eve about Satan and remind them of their free will. He engages in a lengthy discussion of Satan's rebellion and the universe's creation at Adam's request.

Michael: Archangel who, with Gabriel, leads the forces of good against Satan and his followers during their rebellion in heaven. He is important for both jabbing Satan and moving mountains. Later, he comes to escort Adam and Eve from Paradise, and tells them of both good and bad events, which will come to pass.

Minor Characters

Muse/Urania: Invoked by Milton at certain points in the poem to give him the inspiration to carry on.

Beelzebub: A fallen angel, and Satan's biggest supporter. A big advocate of the plan to sabotage Paradise and mortal man.

Moloch: A fallen angel. He thinks that open war should be waged against God and heaven.

Belial: A fallen angel. He thinks that hell isn't that bad, and if God isn't angered, he might remit the punishment of the fallen angels anyway.

Mammon: A fallen angel. He argues that it doesn't make any sense to worship someone you hate, and thinks that the fallen angels should make the best out of hell.

Sin: Satan's daughter, who sprung out of his head. Satan impregnated her, and she gave birth to Death. With Death, she guards the gates of hell. She is half woman and half dogs.

Death: Son of Sin. He rapes her, begetting the dogs that eat her bowels. With Sin, he guards the gates of hell.

Chaos: Ruler of the abyss between hell and earth with his consort Night. He aids Satan in getting to earth.

Night: Chaos' consort. Rules the abyss with him, and aids Satan in getting to earth.

Uriel: Archangel of the sun. Uriel is fooled by Satan on his way to earth. Helps to later kick Satan out of Paradise.

Gabriel: Archangel and guard of the Paradise. He demands an explanation of Satan when he's found in Paradise.

Ithuriel: Archangel. With Zephon, he discovers Satan trying to whisper into Eve's ear in Paradise.

Zephon: Archangel. With Ithuriel, he discovers Satan trying to whisper into Eve's ear in Paradise.

Abdiel: Angel who originally goes to rebel with Satan, but stands up to him and chooses to remain faithful to God.

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