Samson Agonistes Metaphors and Similes

Samson Agonistes Metaphors and Similes


Light is used as a metaphor by Samson and he considers the absence of Light as a sign of God’s disapproval. Samson considers that since light was the first thing created by God, it symbolized God’s presence on earth. Since he can’t see anymore, he is unable to see God’s creations and thus he doesn’t perceive God as he did before. It is clear that for Samson, light has a deeper meaning than for the others in the poem.


Dalila is the only female present in the poem and through her, Milton creates the idea that all women are the same. Dalila is the incarnation of sensuality and of bodily pleasures that tempt Samson. She has almost no positive attributes and symbolizes the woman that doesn’t follow the pattern laid down for her by the society she lives in. instead of following her husband blindly and considering him her master, she believes that she can make Samson her slave and that she can inverse the roles. We see that she puts her interest on the same place as her husband’s interests and doesn’t believe that she should be lower than him. in our society, we would consider Dalila as being a modern woman, but for Milton’s society, Daila was something that should be avoided, a negative example on how a woman should behave.

Hair cutting

For Samson, his hair was already a symbol that was supposed to represent his promise to God and that he was a special man chosen by God. When his hair was cut, Samson felt as if he was castrated, the very essence of his being taken away. After he lost his hair, he was no longer a man, but rather a sheep, forced to do whatever the other wanted him to do. Also, his hair was a link with God. After he lost his hair, that link was severed and he no longer believed that he was protected or accepted by God.

The Chorus

Taken from the ancient tragedies, the Chorus is almost seen as a singular character even if it is composed by different voices speaking in unity. In the poem, the chorus acts like Samson’s conscience, reminding him of his past but also offering some kind of confront regarding his current situation.


When Samson talks about his inner struggle, he describes it as one would describe a physical pain. The pain he felt when he was in prison is as real as the pain caused by a gangrene or a wound and he uses this terms as a metaphor for his interior struggle.

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