Samson Agonistes Summary

Samson Agonistes Summary

The poem opens with an argument, presenting Samson’s current state and how he ended being a prisoner to the Philistine. Because it is a holy day, Samson is now free to think about his life and meditate.

Samson laments about his state and how from the person who was supposed to save Israel from the Palestinians he ended up in a prison, slave to the same people he was supposed to defeat. He talks about the absence of sight and how he feels Godless because Light was the first thing God created and it was the first sign that he exits. Samson thinks that he will never be able to see God’s creation again and feels like a snake, an animal trapped in a cage. He feels so demoralized that he even describes himself as being a walking grave. His monologue is interrupted when he hears footsteps coming his way.

The Chorus appears and they start taking about Samson’s current state, how the brave and powerful man who tore apart lions with his bare hands is now sitting in a cage, dressed in rags and blind. They too, talk about his blindness and how he had fallen from who he was in the beginning. They start talking and Samson blames himself for what has happened. The Chorus tells him not to blame God and Samson admits that he is the one to blame because he didn’t listen, told Dalila his secrets and married a woman who was not from Israel. The chorus then introduce another character and that his Samson’s father, Manoa.

At first, Manoa doesn’t recognize his son until the chorus points him out. Manoa thinks that God was too harsh when he punished Samson and thinks how it is ironic that he and his wife were unable to have children and when they had Samson, he seemed to be the perfect child, blessed by God, only to end in a deplorable state.

Samson tells his father not to blame God for his failures and remember that he was betrayed by his first wife too. His father reveals that the Palestinians will reveal how they captured Samson because it was a big celebration for them and the idea that the Palestine God will be more worshiped than the true God pains Samson. His father wants to take him out of prison but Samson refuses, saying that he is nothing like his former self and that he no longer has a reason to live. Samson continues to describe how lonely and he feels when Dalila appears.

She comes before him and confesses that she has been feeling guilty for what happened to him and if there is something she can do for him, she will do it. Samson refuses to believe her, thinking that she is only a manipulative woman, incapable of feeling love or remorse. She tells him that everything she did was out of love and that it is in her nature to tell the others the secrets he tells her. She tells Samson that she thought that by telling his secrets, Samson will become her slave and will remain with her forever. She then told him that she did it for her country and religion, being influenced by the others in her choice. She asks for his forgiveness and promises to ask the government to let her take him home so that she could take care of him but Samson refuses. When she realizes that Samson will not forgive her, she leaves him alone.

Next, a giant named Harpha appears. He mocks Samson and reveals that he wished to fight with him when he was in his best shape. Samson challenges to fight him then but the giant refuses. Samson continues to mock him and Harpha leaves promising to get revenge on Samson.

Next, an officer comes and tells him that he has to attend the public celebration in the honor of their God. At first, Samson refuses, thinking that his God will get offended but then he gets the feeling that it is crucial for him to be there so he agrees. The soldier returns again and Samson leaves with him.

His father returns just in time to hear what Samson has done. He killed every Philistine by bringing the building down but that also killed him. Manoa tells himself that his son did the right thing while the chorus thinks that there may have been a better way.

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