[Milton-L] Samson as a private person?

Harold Skulsky hskulsky at smith.edu
Mon Aug 16 23:42:37 EDT 2010

In SA 1208-10 Samson momentarily impersonates an imaginary pettifogging objector (for clarity, set off the lines in quotes). 

In 1211-13 Samson settles the objector's hash with a knock-down retort (he is no unauthorized private combatant, no mere vigilante; given his divine sponsorship and his urgently just cause, he is as public and official a champion of his nation as he can be). 

In staging a mock exchange with a mock challenger, Samson is invoking the figure of thought called sermocinatio or dialogismus, a favorite of classical debate. (See Hermann Lausberg, Elemente der Literarischen Rhetorik, for details.)

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