In more recent times, Soviet writers who wished to criticize the system, or those living in any repressive regime, always wrote in such a way that it appeared on the surface that they were towing the party line- only the reflective would grasp that actually the subtext of their work was a violent denial of it all. It seems likely that Milton was doing the same. And yet, the fact is that most people read literature and indeed receive any art form on a surface level; they so often 'don't get' what the artist is really trying to convey. And so images of satan being hurled over the battlements of Heaven remain in the popular consciousness as a result of Milton's epic and graphic story about 'satan'. As Neil Forsyth concludes: "So compelling is the character of Satan in Paradise Lost that generations of English speakers, knowing their Milton better than their Bible, have assumed that Christianity teaches an elaborate story about the fall of the angels after a war in heaven, and have been surprised to find no mention of Satan in the Book of Genesis" (6). G.B. Caird concludes likewise: "The Bible knows nothing of the fall of Satan familiar to readers of Paradise Lost" (7). Whether these authorities agree or not isn't of course the point; but I reference them to show that the thesis developed throughout this book is not original, and that many respected scholars and thinkers have come to similar conclusions.
Satan (Hebrew: שָּׂטָן satan, ..
SparkNotes: Paradise Lost: Plot Overview
Paradise Lost Quotes by John Milton