17) In the re-written version of Sweeney Agonistes
, The Family Reunion, Harry can be identified as the penitent: "Harry has crossed the frontier / Beyond which safety and danger have a different meaning.
The story of how many if not most modern readers have either been deeply troubled by, or have simply repudiated, the violent ending of Samson Agonistes
is significant, because there is no evidence that Milton or his contemporaries saw the destruction of the Philistine temple as anything but admirable and heroic.
Using the emphasis on the term "wisdom" in Samson Agonistes
, Gay highlights the developing insight that the protagonist acquires after his blinding and bondage.
Wittreich aims to resolve this conflict by demonstrating the existence of a seventeenth-century exegetical tradition critical of Samson's behavior, and by locating Samson Agonistes
within a parallel tradition of tragedy, originating in the work of Euripides and Seneca, that "invert[s], correct[s], and refine[s] .
Noting that the main action of Samson Agonistes
documents no "regenerative process" in its hero--a statement that runs counter to most criticism of the play--Wood speculates that "for Samson, recognition [that is, tragic anagnorisis] will seem to come instantaneously at the moment of death.
To quell the mighty of the earth (Samson Agonistes
Falco calls Samson Agonistes
a clear "flow chart of charisma" and the clarity with which he argues this chapter bears out his claim.
Rosenblatt focuses on small but revealing details--the angel Zephon's confrontation with Satan (book 4, Paradise Lost) and Milton's catalogue of pagan dieites--and then reconsiders Samson Agonistes
as a "heroic attempt to understand the Hebraic ethos on its own terms" (108).
This is the backdrop for Wood's analysis of Old Arcadia, Othello, A Winter's Tale and Samson Agonistes
Milton's Samson, for instance, complains of the gross Philistine entertainers with whom his enemies propose to display him, who are "Jugglers and dancers, antics, mummers, Mimics" (Samson Agonistes
After being named in the subsequent witch - hunt by the House of Commons, the Lords never named him, and, amazingly, he was left unscathed, free to complete his magnum opus, as well as Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes
After all, Eliot paid an oblique tribute in "Sweeney Agonistes
," while Leavis famously carried his Milton with him during World War