Samson Agonistes Summary | GradeSaver
‘Discerning the Spirit in Samson Agonistes: The DalilaEpisode,’ read at the Conference on John Milton, Murfreesboro,Tennessee, October 1995, now published (1999) in a book ofselected papers from the conference.
Critical essays samson agonistes - Specs Pool Services
The two sample essays in this section provide examples of close textual analyses of literary works. The first essay explores Milton's use of the imagery in his famous epic poem . While it is clear that this writer is familiar with other Miltonic works, the analysis does not draw on any secondary sources. Rather, the writer relies heavily upon the lines of the poem itself to trace the changes that occur in the main character, which are largely exemplified through the ironic play on the true nature of the words and . The second essay examines the use of setting as an influential element in two different novels. This essay supports its thesis not only through the use of detailed examples from the text and original interpretation by the writer but also by integrating ideas of literary critics.
Lord Macaulay had been held up for many a day as one of the masters of style. Such great writing is not to be traced to any one influence. It could not have been easy to write as Macaulay wrote. Thackeray may have exaggerated in saying that Macaulay read twenty books to write a sentence, and traveled a hundred miles to make a description; but all his writing shows the power of taking infinite pains. It becomes the more important, therefore, that Macaulay held the Bible in such estimate as he did. "In calling upon Lady Holland one day, Lord Macaulay was led to bring the attention of his fair hostess to the fact that the use of the word 'talent' to mean gifts or powers of the mind, as when we speak of men of talent, came from the use of the word in Christ's parable of the talents. In a letter to his sister Hannah he describes the incident, and says that Lady Holland was evidently ignorant of the parable. 'I did not tell her,' he adds, 'though I might have done so, that a person who professes to be a critic in the delicacies of the English language ought to have the Bible at his fingers' ends.' " That Macaulay practised his own preaching you would quickly find by referring to his essays. Take three sentences from the Essay on Milton: "The principles of liberty were the scoff of every growing courtier, and the Anathema Maranatha of every fawning dean. In every high place worship was paid to Charles and James, Belial and Moloch, and England propitiated these obscene and cruel idols with the blood of her best and brightest children. Crime succeeded to crime, and disgrace to disgrace, until the race, accursed of God and man, was a second time driven forth to wander on the face of the earth and to be a by-word and a shaking of the head to the nations." In three sentences here are six allusions to Scripture. In that same essay, in the paragraphs on the Puritans, the allusions are a multitude. They are not even quoted. They are taken for granted. In his Essay on Machiavelli, though the subject does not suggest it, he falls into Scriptural phrases over and over. Listen to this, "A time was at hand when all the seven vials of the Apocalypse were to be poured forth and shaken out over those pleasant countries"; or this, "All the curses pronounced of old against Tyre seemed to have fallen on Venice. Her merchants already stood afar off lamenting for their great city"; or this, "In the energetic language of the prophet, Machiavelli was mad for the sight of his eyes which he saw."
The Political Messages of Samson Agonistes
A literary analysis essay is, as the name states, a text that analyzes a work of literature. The two significant terms here are and . Thus, this genre of writing looks intently at a specific work (or works) of literature - Such as a short story by Amy Tan, a tragedy by William Shakespeare, a sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, a novel by Toni Morrison, or a descriptive essay by Joan Didion - and then scruntizes it closely for insights, judgments, strategies, ideas, and on and on. Remember that this type of writing is not a summary of a literary text, though it certainly may be necessary to include summary remarks within your analysis to ensure that your reader knows or recalls the details of the text and, thus, can follow your discussion. However, the focus must always be upon analysis. Let's examine that difference between summary and analysis for a moment. Read the following passage from a student-written literary analysis essay on John Milton's seventeenth-century epic, Samson Agonistes:
A critical examination of Samson Agonistes
Not so much can be said of Swinburne. There was a strong infusion of acid in his nature, which no influence entirely destroyed. He is apt to live as a literary critic and essayist, though he supposed himself chiefly a poet. His own thought of poetry can be seen in his protest in behalf of Meredith. When he had been accused of writing on a subject on which he had no conviction to express ("Modern Love"), Swinburne denied that poets ought to preach anyway. "There are pulpits enough for all preachers of prose, and the business of verse writing is hardly to express convictions." Yet it is impossible to forget Milton and his purpose to "assert Eternal Providence, and justify the ways of God to men." Naturally, most poets do preach and preach well. Wordsworth declared be wanted to be considered a teacher or nothing. Mrs. Browning thought that poets were the only truth-tellers left to God. But Swinburne could not help a little preaching at any rate. His "Masque on Queen Bersaba" is an old miracle play of David and Nathan. His "Christmas Antiphones" are hardly Christian, though they are abundant in their allusions to Scripture. The first is a prayer for peace and rest in the coming of the new day of the birth of Christ. The second is a protest that neither God nor man has befriended man as he should, and the third is an assurance that men will do for man even if God will not. Now, that is not Christian, but the Bible phrases are all through it. So when he writes his poem bemoaning Poland, he needs must head it "Rizpah." At the same time it must be said that Swinburne shows less of the influence of the Bible in his style and in his spirit than any other of our great English writers.