First Speech. Satan’s speeches reveal pure Miltonic lyricism. His opening speech to Beelzebub is a magnificent set-piece. It reveals the character of Satan – a defiant rebel and a great leader. He encourages and sympathizes with his followers with bold words and sentiments.
Satan first takes pity on the change in his friend. Then he refers to their friendship of the hazardous enterprise in heaven and in their present misery. He is ashamed to admit the might of God. But he will not allow it to change his mind. He has nothing but contempt for God who insulted his merits. It is a sense of injured merit that makes him wage war against the tyrant of Heaven. As for the battle, it has been an equal match and the issue uncertain. It is not their want of merit but God’s new and secret weapon that won the war. There is an irony through Satan’s speech which continually reduces his stature even when apparently it seems to be building it up. Satan’s historical of “high disdain” and “sense of injured merit” have overtones of the ludicrous. It seems weak and childish.
A single victory does not permanently ensure God’s victory. For the present, they may have lost the field, but that does not mean they have lost everything.
What though the field be lost?
... human being intersect in their characteristics, flaws, and ends. Satan in Paradise Lost and Doctor Faustus in Marlowe’s play swell with ... ambition threw me down”(4.40) says Satan in John Milton’s Paradise Lost. This short and simple confession hides several ... . What god can hurt thee, Faustus? Thou art safe, /Cast no more doubts. (scene 5, 25-26). In Paradise Lost, Satan decides it ...
All is not lost-the unconquerable will.
And study of revenge, immoral hate,
And courage never to submit or yield.
And what is else not to be overcome?
He, who failed to conquer these things cannot be said to be victor at all. Defeat is complete only when the spirit and the will too are subjugated. The bow down before God is worse than defeat. So he is determined to wage eternal war by force or guile.
Satan’s question “what though the field be lost?” is “an exposure of himself and his inability to act in any other way other than what he enumerates.”
Though the speech is one of high rhetorics there is barrenness; no suggestion of action at all except to brood on revenge and hate. Revenge will be eternally “studied” and have sustained yet it is so grandly expressed that we are thrilled by the implied suggestion to wage ceaseless war against hopeless odds, this appears as admirable.