Term Paper: Samson Agonistes and Paradise Lost

Pages: 14 (4654 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Their honor and respect is the prime reason for their sense of pride.

While Adam is talking to Raphael he tells him what he remembered when God created him. Adam reveals that according to God's wishes, the entire of his creation was his.

Creature form'd of Earth, and him endow,

Exalted from so base original,

With Heav'nly spoils, our spoils: What he decreed

He effected; Man he made, and for him built

Magnificent this World, and Earth his seat,

Him Lord pronounc'd, and, O indignitie!

Subjected to his service Angel wings,

And flaming Ministers to watch and tend

Thir earthlie Charge: Of these the vigilance

I dread, and to elude, thus wrapt in mist

Of midnight vapor glide obscure, and prie (John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV, Line 149).

In the beginning of Samson Agonistes, Samson is introduced to the audience as a blind person. While Samson complains about his current situation he also complains about this state of blindness. Samson says,

Why was my breeding ordered and prescribed

As of a person separate to God,

Designed for great exploits, if I must die

Betrayed, captived, and both my eyes put out (John Milton, Samson Agonistes, Part I).

Samson blames himself about his blindness by trusting Dalila, his wife. It is clear to the audience that he does not repent his life of servitude as much as his state of blindness.

Suffices that to me strength is my bane,

And proves the source of all my miseries

So many, and so huge, that each apart

Would ask a life to wail. But, chief of all, loss of sight, of thee I most complain!

Blind among enemies! O. worse than chains,

Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age!

Light, the prime work of God, to me is extinct, and They creep, yet see; I, dark in light, exposed

To daily fraud, contempt, abuse and wrong,

Within doors, or without, still as a fool,

In power of others, never in my own

Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half.

A dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,

Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse

Without all hope of day!

A first - created Beam, and thou great Word (John Milton, Samson Agonistes, Part I).

To Samson a body that cannot see is deprived from all the blessings of the world. To him day is exactly like night when then there is no sun and nothing but darkness prevails. He shows great pessimism when he says,

As in the land of darkness, yet in light,

To live a life half dead, a living death,

And buried; but, O yet more miserable!

Myself my sepulchre, a moving grave;

Buried, yet not exempt,

By privilege of death and burial,

From worst of other evils, pains, and wrongs;

But made hereby obnoxious more

To all the miseries of life,

Life in captivity

Among inhuman foes (John Milton, Samson Agonistes, Part I).

The above lines greatly reflect Samson's devastation and frustration towards life. What further discourages him is when other people in the play pity his very living conditions. In his state of physical blindness Samson recalls the blindness of vision for the future, which he possessed while he was gifted with the vision of his eyes and still could not see the deceiving nature of Dalila. Samson reconsiders his current state of blindness and life to better still than his blindness towards Dalila's real character. He blames Love to be the true cause for his present state. He says, yielded, and unlocked her all my heart,

Who, with a grain of manhood well resolved,

Might easily have shook off all her snares;

But foul effeminacy held me yoked

Her bond - slave. O indignity, O blot

To Honour and Religion! servile mind

Rewarded well with servile punishment!

The base degree to which I now am fallen,

These rags, this grinding, is not yet so base

As was my former servitude, ignoble,

Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,

True slavery; and that blindness worse than this,

That saw not how degenerately I served (John Milton, Samson Agonistes, Part II).

Adam in Paradise Lost is not physically blind but he too is blinded like Samson as far as his vision for the future is concerned. In Book VIII of Paradise Lost, Adams request for a partner and the creation of Eve is what eventually becomes the reason for Adams downfall. Adam like Samson is blinded by love and is willing to do anything for it, even give up his life on the heaven. Both Eve and Dalila are a symbol of beauty. Even though both men acknowledge their heroines to be weaker than them, they cannot help praising them as a result of their great admiration for them. Adam out of his love for Eve refers to her as a wise, virtuous and discreet creature.

Later it is Adam's wise Eve who after being fooled by Satan eats the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. After Eve tells Adam about her whereabouts and her eating of the forbidden fruit, he becomes worried but soon realizes that he cannot be departed from her and decides to eat the fruit to undergo the same punishment together.

On th' other side, Adam, soon as he heard

The fatal Trespass don by Eve, amaz'd,

Astonied stood and Blank, while horror chill

Ran through his veins, and all his joynts relax'd;

From his slack hand the Garland wreath'd for Eve

Down drop'd, and all the faded Roses shed:

Speechless he stood and pale, till thus at length

First to himself he inward silence broke.

A fairest of Creation, last and best

Of all Gods Works, Creature in whom excell'd

Whatever can to fight or thought be found,

Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!

How art thou lost, how on a sudden lost,

Defac't, deflourd, and now to Death devote?

Rather how hast thou yeelded to transgress

The strict forbiddance, how to violate

The sacred Fruit forbidd'n! som cursed fraud

Of Enemie hath beguil'd thee, yet unknown,

And mee with thee hath ruind, for with thee

Certain my resolution is to Die;

How can I live without thee, how forgoe

Thy sweet Converse and Love so dearly joyn'd,

To live again in these wilde Woods forlorn? (John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book

Hence, both Samson and Adam are blinded by their love but the only difference between both of their condition is that Samson trust on Dalila lead him to physical blindness and Adam's love for Eve casts him out of paradise.

The relationship, which Samson had with Dalila, is initially the same as Adam's with Eve but the relationship between the hero and heroine of Samson Agonistes changes after Samson is exposed to such brutal living conditions. The character of Dalila is introduced to the audience through Samson's perspective as Monstrous, Fallacious, unclean and unchaste. In Part I of the play while Samson talk to the Chorus, it is obvious to the audience that Samson once very much was in love with Dalila and married her against the wishes of his parents. He trusted and loved her with all of his heart, as he had only opened his heart to her. Samson says,

The first I saw at Timna, and she pleased

Me, not my parents, that I sought to wed

The daughter of an Infidel. They knew not That what I motioned was of God; I knew

From intimate impulse, and therefore urged

The marriage on, that, by occasion hence, might begin Israel's deliverance

The work to which I was divinely called.

She proving false, the next I took to wife that I never had! found wish too late!)

Was in the vale of Sorec, Dalila,

That specious monster, my accomplished snare.

I thought it lawful from my former act,

And the same end, still watching to oppress

Israel's oppressors. Of what now I suffer

She was not the prime cause, but I myself,

Who, vanquished with a peal of words, (O weakness!)

Gave up my fort of silence to a woman (John Milton, Samson Agonistes, Part I).

After deceiving Samson's trust, Dalila loses all of her respect from her husband's eyes who hates her and refuses to even speak to her when she comes to visit him in the prison. While talking to his father, Samson again refers to her with utter disrespect and regrets his relationship with her. He is greatly angry with her for selling her love for gold and selling her husband's trust to his enemies.

Sole author I, sole cause. If aught seem vile,

As vile hath been my folly, who have profaned

The mystery of God, given me under pledge

Of vow, and have betrayed it to a woman,

Canaanite, my faithless enemy.

This well I knew, nor was at all surprised,

But warned by oft experience. Did not she

Of Timna first betray me, and reveal

The secret wrested from me in her… [END OF PREVIEW]

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