Cite This Page
 
To Go
Samson Agonistes
Samson Agonistes
by John Milton
Advertisement
group rates for schools and districts
ADVERTISEMENT

Samson Agonistes Theme of Suffering

Here's another no-brainer: opening with lines that describe our protagonist as both blind and imprisoned, it's pretty obviously that Samson Agonistes is about suffering. But just in case you need convincing, the poem spends most of its time listening to various characters describing suffering: the who, what, where, when, and, oh yeah, why. Each of the various visitors Samson talks with offers a different perspective on Samson's suffering and their own. Does anyone find relief? Do they all? We'll leave that up to you.

Questions About Suffering

  1. What kinds of suffering does Samson Agonistes depict? The physical ones are the most obvious, but do you see other kinds as well? Which ones and where?
  2. What various attitudes towards suffering do we see presented? Do all the characters feel the same way about it or do different characters have different points of view? If so, are they incompatible?
  3. Does Samson's suffering increase, decrease, or remain exactly the same throughout the poem? Why?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Since Samson's problems are entirely his own fault, this story isn't about his suffering at all.

Tragedies are always about suffering. There's nothing special about suffering in Samson.

Next Page: Guilt and Blame
Previous Page: Religion

Need help with College?