According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a hero is a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities. A hero can also be described as someone who is willing to sacrifice their selves for the good of others. The concept of heroism in Paradise Lost becomes lost once the readers are introduced to Satan, and the things he did in order to be sent out from heaven along with his followers.
“Nine times the space that measures day and night To mortal men, he, with his horrid crew, Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf, confounded through immortal” (1. 50-4) These lines are the first introduction to Satan, and indication that he and the other angels have fell into what we know as hell. Book two starts off with Satan giving a speech, or rather asking for advice on how to attack heaven again; it seems pointless that he would ask for advice when we know he will do what he wants in the end. A decision is made to find the new world that God is making and Satan makes the concious decision to be the “brave” one to find this world. “But I should ill become this throne, O Peers, and this imperial sov’reignty, adorned with splendor, armed with power, if aught proposed and judged of public moment in the shape of difficulty or danger, could deter me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume these royalties, and not refuse to reign, Refusing to accept as great a share of hazard as of honor, due alike of hazard more as he above the rest high honored sits?” (2. 445-56) It is very easy for anyone reading this to characterize this action as an act of heroism. Now whether or not Milton meant to paint Satan in such a humble light is unknown. However, knowing what we know about Satan, we can make the inference that ultimately his decision to be this “hero” and go out into the unknown to search for this world is undoubtedly a selfish one. Satan tricks not only the rest of the fallen