Paradise Lost by John Milton unfolds much, and the most memorable part is when Eve eats the fruit of knowledge persuaded by Satan. It is not until recently that Satan’s motivation started to be looked at in literature. Adam and Eve were motivated by different things, as discussed in the previous paper, including curiosity. Now, the question is what motivated Satan to trick the woman into eating the forbidden fruit. In the book, it is clear that Satan is the only one apart from God who has seen both the earth and heaven. As chapter nine commences, Satan gashes over the beauty of the earth, and from there, a motive for lying can be deduced. The beauty of the earth makes Satan angry and unlike human beings, he cannot enjoy it because he is cursed and miserable (Milton 52). The first motivation is to make others as sad as he is and not enjoy it long.
Satan went through many troubles waiting for Eve and Adam to arise after thinking of his brilliant plan. Satan had to wait for the perfect moment to catch one of the human beings alone so that he could convince them to eat the forbidden fruit. For a minute, the devil was struck by Eve’s beauty, and his hate was forgotten, but then he snapped out of it. The motivation behind all this planning and waiting was his hate for God and his actual plan to revenge. The devil saw God as the one who had human qualities. Satan heard Eve and Adam speaking about not being allowed to eat the fruit at the center of the garden. Since he did not understand the reason, he assumed that God was preventing His creation from being as wise as He was (Milton 48). Satan believed that God was envious of his creation and that for Adam and Eve to have knowledge was a good thing, and they should not have been prevented from enjoying it.
The other reasoning behind Satan’s rebellion was that he was freeing the human beings from a tyrant leader who was cruel and did not want the best for his creation. In Satan’s justification for his acts, he was doing Adam and Eve a favor freeing them from the hands of God, who was jealous of them (Milton 524). However, Satan is on the wrong side of the story because there is no reason for God to be envious of his creation. Satan’s view of hierarchies was mistaken, and thus he rebelled. Satan thought that God wants to put his creation enslaved and low. According to Satan, it was the reason God had so much selfishness within Him and wanted to enslave his creation and keep everything for himself.
Satan presents the case to Eve as though God uses the restriction on the tree of knowledge to keep them in check and be in control. The reasoning behind God’s restrictions and rules is that his creation threatens him as believed by Satan. The poem portrays the serpent as a narcissist who preys on the art of flattery that gets on Eve’s good side and gets her attention by saying she looked like a goddess. A narcissist has no good reason to hurt the people around him (Milton 59). It is a person who derives joy and pleasure from making people feel bad. The serpent reasoned that he would make Eve and Adam God’s reject and, therefore, be hell-bound just like he was. Another reason is that God created Adam and Eve to spit on Satan, which made him angry, and his rebellion was a retaliation act.
Destroying God’s majestic plan of creating humans and making them enemies was another motivation to have Satan feeling like he won. The serpent was incapable of repenting and coming back to God, and for that reason, he continuously sorted for ways to have his revenge. The serpent should have been checking his ego and correcting his pride, but he employed a defense mechanism and applied revenge instead. Satan also wanted to show flaws in God’s ways and creation by using them against him (Milton 736). Satan knew about the power of free will that Adam and Eve had been endowed with, and he used it to get to God. Satan’s aim was to show God that the gift of free will was a double-edged sword that could be used for destruction. Satan did this by turning the minds of Adam and Eve into their own worst enemies.
Looking at this comparison between the motives of Adam and Eve and that of the serpent is vital. One reason is that the serpent’s rebellion led to the creation of human beings in a significant way. A closer look at what and why the serpent did rebel against God explains the events and allows for a greater understanding of the whole situation. As one looks at how it was curiosity and exploration for Adam and Eve while it was about revenge and proving a point, he recruited more people to be miserable. Satan understands who the hero of the story is at the end.
Milton, John. Paradise Lost. University Press, 1972.