Paradise Lost, written by John Milton and first published in 1667, retells Genesis from multiple perspectives, mainly focusing on Satan, God, Jesus, Adam, and Eve. As we all know from class, Paradise Lost is pretty hefty. We didn’t even read a ton of it. Not to mention, I had no prior knowledge besides the absolute basics. I was brainstorming in class and trying my best to make connections to other works I’ve read and/or seen. Logically, my brain went to the cult classic musical, Rocky Horror Picture Show. At the time, I wasn’t entirely sure why I was making the connection, but the more I thought about it, the more I began to realize that there are quite a bit of similarities, mainly in modern-day interpretations of the character.
I did a quick Google search to see if anyone else had the same idea as me. Apparently, one person did! One person wrote a paper on the comparisons between Satan and Frank ‘N Furter. However, I would have to pay to read it, and my college brain said “no”. But, I’ve attached the URL if anyone else is interested!
I found it extremely interesting that the one character comparison I could find was with Satan and Frank ‘N Furter because it was also the comparison my brain first jumped to, and I truly think the modern interpretation of Satan has a lot to do with this.
SPOILER ALERT FOR ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW:
Satan VS Frank ‘N Furter
For my friends that have seen Rocky Horror Picture Show, I think we can all agree it’s an……experience. The plot of the musical is (not) simple; Brad Majors and Janet Weiss stumble upon a mysterious castle where they come across aliens who experiment on the human race and make their own creations. Granted, this summary makes it seem much more like Frankenstein, but the characters are really what made me think of each other.
Taking the overall consensus of the class, a lot of us sympathized with Satan. We connected more with his ideas and personality. Frank ‘N Furter, despite being the most widely known (and some can argue widely loved) character is the antagonist. He manipulates the characters in multiple ways, murders a character, and is implied to have killed many others off-screen, as well as experiments on unwilling victims. I don’t know the stories of the bible extremely well, but I’m guessing Satan might also do some not-so-cool stuff?
As we discussed in class, Milton might have willingly tried to make Satan empathetic as a way to confuse the reader when he does some not-so-great stuff like taking advantage of Eve’s innocence and essentially forcing her to eat the apple. However, a lot of us still empathized with Satan or at least related more to him than God’s character.
Both characters were (potentially) pushed to the reader/watcher in a way that can make the reader/watcher forget about the determinantal events they do to other characters.
Speaking of God, that leads us to our next character….
God Vs The Narrator
God, for most of what we read in Paradise Lost, is more of a “viewing from afar” character. God rarely explains his position and when he does, it’s a very nonchalant attitude. For me, the Narrator (also called the Criminologist) is a similar character. The Narrator is only seen to fill in information for the viewer. He watches over the entire film with you. He’s the only character in the film that doesn’t interact with another character. The Narrator also has a very nonchalant attitude. He’s discussing aliens, murder, and unwilling experimental procedures as if he’s discussing the weather.
Both characters have a very removed feel from the reader/watcher but also the other characters, and both of those removals are intentional.
Jesus VS Rocky
Ok….here me out. We don’t see a ton of Jesus in what we personally read of Paradise Lost. We also don’t see a lot of Rocky. From what Nic did tell us, is that Jesus is essentially brought to heaven and then God states that he’s the second in command now, making everyone pretty pissed off. Rocky is created after the “failure” that was Eddie. No one was expecting the Rocky experiment to succeed, as he was the first victim completely created by Frank. Many characters such as Columbia feel completely cheated (similar to Satan). Rocky appeared out of nowhere and was suddenly Frank’s favorite, which is a weird parallel to Jesus’ storyline.
Adam VS Brad
Adam and Brad…..Brad and Adam
Both characters appear to have a raging sense of entitlement, view of women only for their beauty/innocence, expect all aspects to go their way and have their sense of reality shattered.
Eve VS Janet
Janet and Eve are both more complex than their counterparts (in my humble opinion). Both are extremely naive characters that get manipulated by their Satan counterpart (Satan and Frank). This taints their character in the eyes of the other characters and their own eyes. Both characters are used as a way to get what other characters want. They are pawns in another character’s game.
Other fun facts I noticed:
- Virginity is referred to as the “forbidden fruit”
- The castle is consdiered it’s own little world and a paradise (Eden)
- Riff Raff, Magenta, and Columbia could all be considered other fallen angels
- They want to return to Translyvania as heroes and are barred from their homeland
- Literally the last line of dialogue: “And crawling on the planet’s face, some insects called the human race. ot in time, and lost in space. And meaning.” This dilogue is also said by who I linked to God, the Narrator.