Paradise Lost - John MiltonSatan: in Dante and Milton
John Milton wrote Paradise Lost three hundred years after Dante’s Inferno.
The two works were inspired by different artistic visions and there were divergences in culture and religion.
Authors had contrasting ideas as regards Satan’s physical appearance and dwelling: the most notable difference is that Dante’s Satan becomes a means of punishment while Milton’s is a symbol of God’s eternal justice.
Whereas Dante’s Satan is a massive mythic monster, three-headed winged with a body like that of a medieval satyr; Milton’s Satan takes several forms: he is first presented as a fallen angel who finds himself in a newly created Hell; later in the poem, he takes the inhuman form of an animal of prey and finally, in the ninth book, he takes the classic form of a snake.
Dante’s Satan, who dwells in the City of Dis in the centre of the earth, is described in the Inferno as “the Ill Worm”.
Milton takes Dante’s colours for his Satan, making the serpent’s eyes red and his neck yellow.
Milton’s Satan and Frankenstein
Milton created a powerful portrait of Satan who deeply influenced Romantic writers like Blake, Percy Shelley and Mary Shelley.
She wrote Frankenstein.
Frankenstein’s monster is compared to the Satan of Paradise Lost.
Like Satan, the monster was created to be beautiful.
However like Satan, the monster becomes a perversion of beauty.
He is cast away from his creator as Satan is cast out of Heaven.
Satan and the monster differ in a key aspect: Satan fell with companions, the monster fell alone.
He and Satan indirectly attack their creator (/ neither he nor Satan directly attack their creator / they not attack directly their creator) :Satan attacks man, the God’s beloved creation, and the monster attacks Dr Frankenstein’s friends and family members.