The Anti-Friend: Satan

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Carnality, self-interest, and amor sui praeposterus are all categorized in classical and exegetical writings as negative expressions of love, and Satan’s alignment with them reveals him as fundamentally at odds with positive models of love and friendship. This chapter argues that such alignments mark him as Milton’s anti-friendship figure. Self-interest underpins Satan’s approach to God the Father, the Son/Jesus, the rebel angels, and the unfallen inhabitants of Eden. In this he categorically falls short of both the Christian ideal of caritas and the classical ideal of virtuous friendship. Moreover, in his closest companionships he actively subverts the requirements for true friendship. Satan, this chapter shows, repeatedly bends the language and actions of love to gain advantage. In his voluntary solitude and quest for personal glory, he reveals the very traits that Aristotle warns about in the Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, and that Plutarch warns his readers to be alert to in How to Tell a Flatterer from a Friend.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMilton's Loves
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Amity to Caritas in the Paradise Epics
Place of PublicationNew York, US
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9781003348061
ISBN (Print)9781032390215
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2023

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture

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