Solving the problem of evil in the twenty-first century

The Devil’s Advocate, John Milton

The Devil’s Advocate is a 1997 thriller/horror movie. The film’s villain, John Milton or Satan is played by Al Pacino. His character is a slight tribute to the author of Paradise Lost John Milton. Milton from The Devil’s Advocate is the head boss of a New York law firm. Al Pacino’s version of Lucifer is very much like the Lucifer from Paradise Lost as both use vanity to tempt humans.
During his speech to Kevin Lomax (the protagonist), Milton talks about how God made rules against the instinct of man. He talks about not touching, tasting or swallowing which refers to the forbidden fruit, Lucifer tempted Eve to eat in Paradise Lost. Then Milton goes on sating a few insults towards God, such as calling him a sadist, and expresses his discontent on serving under God. Kevin then says “better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven”, referring to line 262 of Paradise Lost ‘Here may we reign secure, and in my choice to reign is worth ambition, though in Hell. Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.’ Line 262 from Paradise Lost is a famous line from when Lucifer is giving his speech to his legion of fallen angels after falling to Hell. Lucifer appeals to the vanity of the fallen angels. He tempts the angels who seek power, in their vanity by stating that in Heaven they will have to serve under God almost like a slave but in Hell they can rule. Milton from The Devil’s Advocate appeals to Kevin’s vanity to tempt him just like Lucifer from Paradise Lost. By offering a job to Kevin based on his merit of never losing a case and constantly appealing to his skill he tempts Kevin to always keep winning which is his vanity, slowly and unknowingly falling into temptation. In the end of the movie when Kevin quits the case that got him a job offer at Milton’s law firm he is asked by a reporter for an interview. After appealing to his vanity Kevin accepts, only to reveal a grinning Milton saying “Vanity definitely my favorite sin.” Just like the Lucifer from Paradise Lost, Milton will attempt to make Kevin fall into temptation once gain just as Lucifer will continue to tempt Adam, Eve and their descendants.


3 responses

  1. Great Post! I really enjoyed your analysis of John Milton or Satan. Milton’s moment of insulting God by saying he pleasures by inflicting pain on others (sadist) is a perfect example of John Milton’s fallen faith.

    February 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm

  2. I enjoyed the connection you made with both Lucifer in Paradise Lost and this movie. I liked how you stated that the devil is seen using vanity to tempt humans. It’s a great connection between the beginning of time in Paradise Lost, with the devil talking to the fallen angels even after they had been defeated, and humans today being stumbled by the same trait. It was good to see the connection between the fallen angel’s desire to reign, and Kevin’s desire for a successful life. As far as constructive criticism goes, I would just add in some specific examples of Kevin’s vanity to show how the devil influenced him, but nevertheless, great job.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:11 am

  3. I really liked this post, particularly because I saw this movie several years ago, before actually reading Paradise Lost. Now that we have read it in class, the references to specific lines and such are really clear, and it makes me want to watch the movie over again to try to pick out more.

    April 26, 2011 at 3:13 pm

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