Samson Agonistes Questions and Answers
by John Milton

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How does Dalila tempt Samson & why?

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Kale Emmerich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Prior to the events of the text, Dalila was a temptress who encouraged Samson to divulge the secrets of his strength so that the Philistines could overcome him.

Now that he is imprisoned, however, she is remorseful and sad that he is displeased with her. Dalila entreats him to forget his anger with her, and she might be able to find pardon for him. In the text she says that she comes fearfully to his cell, hoping that he would not be angry with her, and that she may be his only hope of escape.

Her offer to help, while it may be genuine, is another form of temptation, as she is bartering her help for his favor, in spite of the temptation she lured him into previously and danger she put him in by doing so.

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During the action of this poem (or play), Samson is in prison.  While he is there, various people come to visit him.  One of these is Dalila.  When she comes to visit him, she tempts him by offerring him help and her love.

She tells Samson that she wants to help him in any way she can because she knows she deserves his anger and she has felt terrible about what she did to him.

Dalila is presumably motivated by guilt over her role in Samson's downfall.  Her role in the work, though, is to allow Samson to show how much he has grown spiritually since he allowed her to tempt him before.

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b15 | Student

her intention was to reveal the secret of samson's power n in doing so she deceived him.