[Milton-L] Peter Ackroyd examines Milton

Sara van den Berg vandens at slu.edu
Sat Feb 23 15:34:57 EST 2008

Thanks to Paul Miller.  However, the messenger suggests two possible 
interpretations of Samson: his eyes are "fast fixt" (1) as if he is 
praying (2) "or some great matter in his mind revolv'd."  The latter 
suggests not intense prayer but intense planning/deciding with a sense 
of the consequences.  Since the messenger emphasizes Samson's (blind) 
eyes "fast fixt," not his mouth moving, it would seem that the messenger 
is speculating that Samson either prayed silently or planned his fatal 
act. Maybe both of his interpretations are "true"; maybe there are other 
possible interpretations.  In any case, Milton does not simply reiterate 
Samson's oral prayer in Judges.

Sara van den Berg

Paul Miller wrote:
> As Sara van den Berg noted we are limited to the subjective viewpoint 
> and spacial placement of the messenger within the poem. From that 
> point of view we could speculate that the words were spoken or not and 
> this would remain an unknown within the narrative. I don't see much 
> ambiguity in the description of prayer from the messenger's viewpoint.
> Paul Miller
> So Hills amid the Air encounterd Hills
> Hurl'd to and fro with jaculation dire,
> That under ground, they fought in dismal
> shade --- Paradise Lost
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