[Milton-L] RE: Samson's prayer for revengr

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Sat Feb 23 19:28:02 EST 2008



Derek Wood wrote:
> 
> I wonder how Milton could have dramatised Samson's prayer, making it audible. It is an intimate, intensely private communion with God, not something to be shouted out for a crowd of unbelievers to share. 

This assumes what is to be demonstrated. Milton went out of his way to
force this sort of debate -- not just among critics but within the mind
of any attentive reader. He could have stopped after the "as if in
prayer," and while and ambiguity would still be there it would not be a
radical one as it is in the actual text, where an explicit alternative
is suggested. Why offer the alternative (careful plotting of the act) if
it was supposed to be "an intimate, intensely private communiond"? If
you stick to the prayer, it is your (free?) choice, nothing Milton has
forced on you. 

This argument applies equally to any attempt to insist that it was _not_
a prayer. The text simply refuses to sanction such a definite
interpretation.

Carrol



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