[Milton-L] Peter Ackroyd examines Milton

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Sat Feb 23 16:59:57 EST 2008


Samson's prayer was unseemly in its request for personal revenge. I suppose
Milton would not want to implicate God in that aspect of the project, at
least. On the other hand, Milton's version exaggerates the scope of damage
to the enemies of Israel, making Samson's act less personal and more
revolutionary/ political.

Michael


On 2/23/08 3:34 PM, "Sara van den Berg" <vandens at slu.edu> wrote:

> 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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