Samson Questions

ENGL 513/622

Dr. Fike



1.          According to Milton’s preface, what are the characteristics of this play?

2.          How has Milton altered the story of Samson in Judges 13-16?  In particular, how is Samson himself different?

3.          What are the key points in the Prologue?

·         Manoa:  What is the conflict here, and why is Manoa wrong?  How does their interaction leave Samson?

·         Dalila:  How does she defend herself?  Does love, cruelty, or something else motivate her visit?  What does she reveal about herself at 980ff.?

·         Harapha:  Who is he, and what is his situation if he fights Samson?  How is Samson different here from the Samson of the earlier discussions with Manoa and Dalila?  What happens in this section, and what does it tell us?

·         What does each character represent?

o       Chorus:  Patrick

o       Manoa:  Rachel

o       Dalila:  Joanna

o       Harapha:  Kathryn

o       Officer & Messenger:  Paul 

4.      What is up with the eagle and the phoenix (lines 1687ff.)?

5.      In what way is Samson regenerated?  What things suggest regeneration?  How can a play in which Samson is regenerated be a tragedy?

6.      What do you make of the final chorus?
7.      What autobiographical parallels do you see?
8.      What would a “typological” reading of this play look like?


Prologue:  1-175

1.  Samson and Chorus:  176-325

2.  Samon and Manoa:  326-709

3.  Samson and Dalila:  710-1060

4.  Samson and Harapha:  1061-1307

5.  Samson and Officer & Messenger:  1308-1444

Epilogue:  1445-1758