Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Adam Rzepka

Committee Member

Jeff Miller

Committee Member

Lee Behlman


The seventeenth-century poet, civil servant, and prose polemicist John Milton is well- known for his renditions of Satan and Jesus in his poems Paradise Lost and Paradise Regain'd. While scholars maintain a clear difference between Satan and Jesus, there is a surprising and unnoticed relationship between the fallen angel and the Son of God. While Milton shies away from explicitly illustrating Jesus’ crucifixion, the pain and weight of Jesus’ body hanging from the cross cannot go unillustrated. Left in the void and searching for a vessel to signify this touchstone of Christian theology, Milton employs Satan as a perfect candidate. His division from angels and the pain and weight of his physical body suggests that Satan endures the pain displaced by Milton's underrepresented crucifixion. Milton displaces the crucifixion, favoring a fluctuating divine and human ideal of Jesus, but he places the weight and pain Jesus would have endured on Satan. Observing Satan as a retainer of the pain displaced by Jesus changes our notions of Satan in Milton's microcosm. This paper will specifically detail how the pain and weight of a corporeal frame effectively blurs Satan’s role in Milton’s poetry.

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