Satan: the chief of devils


One of the most popular names for the chief of devils. According to the Talmud, Satan was once an archangel but was cast out of heaven. In medieval mythology, he holds the fifth rank of the nine demoniacal orders. Milton, in his Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, follows the tradition of his expulsion from heaven and makes him monarch of Hell. His chief lords are Beƫlzebub, Moloch, Chemos, Thammuz, Dagon, Rimmon and Belial. His standard-bearer is Azazel.

He [Satan], above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
Stood like a tower. His form had not yet lost
All her original brightness; nor appeared
Less than archangel ruined, and the excess
Of glory obscured . . . but his face
Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and care
Sat on his faded cheek . . . cruel his eye, but cast
Signs of remorse.

Milton, Paradise Lost, i. 589, etc.

In legendary lore, Satan is drawn with horns and a tail, saucer eyes, and claws; but Milton makes him a proud, selfish, ambitious chief, of gigantic size, beautiful, daring, and commanding. Satan declares his opinion that "'tis better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven."

No comments: