[Milton-L] Sophocles and Samson

Kemmer Anderson kanderso at mccallie.org
Wed Dec 5 11:40:31 EST 2007


>Thanks so much for the guidance to certain lines concerning touch. 
>Our class on Samson  at UTC was enlived by that observation. But 
>then Ajax and Philoctetes had dramatic moments where that gesture 
>was refused then accepted at Ajax's funeral then when Philoctetes 
>accepts the right hand of Neoptolemos at the end. Thank you again 
>for the sharp reading and encouragement. My McCallie students are 
>finishing a paper on Despair involving these characters; we will 
>await their comments and interpretations. We did acting out of 
>several scenes.   We saw and touched. Kemmer



>Philoctetes rises to face his enemies, yes, but even more alarmingly 
>he rises to face his friends.  One of the most moving moments in the 
>play occurs when Neoptolemus, who has been persuaded by Odysseus to 
>deceive Philoctetes, but comes to hate what he is doing, offers to 
>touch Philoctetes, who is writhing in agony, and Philoctetes tells 
>him not to do it, on his life.  I have often thought that Milton was 
>alluding to this moment in SA when Dalila offers to approach and 
>touch Samson's hand, and Samson threatens to tear her limb from limb 
>if she does.  Touch is very important in Greek tragedy, especially 
>Sophocles, and Milton seems to have recognized this.
>
>Adrian Poole has written very well about this in Tragedy: 
>Shakespeare and the Greek Example, as has Oliver Taplin in Greek 
>Tragedy in Action.
>
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Arnold, Margaret" <mjarnold at ku.edu>
>Date: Friday, November 16, 2007 1:23 pm
>Subject: RE: [Milton-L] Sophocles and Samson
>To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>
> > Kemmer and Rich,
> >
> > I agree that an Ajax discussion would be valuable.  I'd
> > like to reinforce the mention of Philoctetes, too.  The two
> > plays were often published together in the 16th and 17th
> > centuries.  In Philoctetes, the hero is shunned by friends
> > and enemies, laments his suffering, and rises to face his
> > enemies at the end.
> >
> > Enjoy the class discussions,
> >
> > Margaret Arnold
> >
> > ________________________________
> >
> > From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu on behalf of Rich Durocher
> > Sent: Thu 11/15/2007 9:51 AM
> > To: John Milton Discussion List
> > Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Sophocles and Samson
> >
> >
> >
> > Kemmer,
> >
> > This is a wonderful, provocative line of thought. I think you, perhaps
> > with input from your students, should craft that essay on Samson
> > and Ajax.
> >
> > Best wishes,
> >
> > Rich DuRocher
> >
> >
> > Kemmer Anderson wrote:
> > >
> > >> While sitting in Brian Hampton's class the at UT-Chattanooga,
> > >> listening to him read the opening speech of Samson, I heard
> > the voice
> > >> from Ajax, a speech performed by 2 classes of students a few hours
> > >> before. Those "rousing motions" (SA, 1182) (Richard
> > DuRocher's 2005
> > >> paper) went off in my head. The "I am lament" (Ajax,468)
> > speech from
> > >> Ajax, the despair of Samson echoed through my head.
> > >
> > > I just spent a whole period hammering out Samson's speech to
> > my class
> > > who are performing and reading Ajax after reviewing his
> > actions in the
> > > Iliad, comparing the Hebrew God with the Greek gods. At the
> > end I said
> > > write a journal entry comparing the despair of Samson and
> > Ajax. What I
> > > see now is the following: An essay comparing the despair of Samson,
> > > Ajax, and Philoctetes. Should I pursue the essay with my
> > students? I
> > > hear the echo from the prison, the cave, or the tent. What do
> > you all
> > > think?
> > >
> > > Jefferson at 16 and 17 filled his commonplace book with quotes from
> > > Samson Agonistes. Somehow this is the way of educating young
> > Americans.>
> > > Thanks for stirring my wonder during the Miltonic musings at
> > > Murfreesboro.
> > >
> > > Kemmer
> > >
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