Samson Agonistes Literary Elements

Samson Agonistes Literary Elements



Setting and Context

The time is not mentioned and the action takes place in a Philistine city.

Narrator and Point of View

There is no narrator present and we can’t point exactly to a fixed point of view as the poem is constructed as a dialogue.

Tone and Mood

Frightening, depressing, tragic

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist is Samson and the antagonists are the philistines.

Major Conflict

The major conflict is the one between the two nations, Israel and the Philistines.


The climax of the poem is when Samson agrees to go the celebration, having the assurance that there something that he has to do.


Samson’s first wife’s betrayal foreshadowed Dalila’s betrayal.


When Samson’s father tells him that he will take him out of prison, that proves to be an understatement as Samson died that same day.


An allusion is made that Dalila and every woman who doesn’t listen blindly to his husband is evil and the responsible for everything evil that happens.


The Chorus thinks about the way Samson was before he was taken captive and the image they create is that of a fallen God or Titan who in the past had everything but lost it all because of his own foolishness.


Samson’s death and rebirth can be considered as a paradox , Samson identifying himself with the Son of God.


A parallel can be drawn between Dalila and Eve as they both deceived their husbands and led to their downfall.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

When Samson talks about foreskin, he uses this to refer to the philistines who were uncircumcised.


The air imprison'd also, close and damp,

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