Samson Agonistes

by John Milton

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What path to salvation is Samson offered in Samson Agonistes?

In Samson Agonistes, Samson is offered a path to salvatoin through a messenger arriving to escort him to a festival honoring the Philistine God, Dagon. Samson initially refuses to attend, but is then overcome by a feeling that he is meant to attend. His feeling proves to be correct when his strength is reinstated long enough for him to perform the final act of destroying the temple's pillars, which collapses the temple, killing many Philistines and himself.

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At the start of John Milton's Samson Agonistes, Samson is a blind prisoner of the Philistines after revealing the secret of his strength to his wife, Dalila, who betrays him. He regrets the choices that led to his current state and longs for God's forgiveness. Samson's father, Manoa, visits his son and tells him of his plans to bribe an official to free Samson. Samson feels that he deserves his punishment and does not want to be freed.

When a messenger arrives to bring Samson to the festival honoring the Philistine God, Dagon, Samson initially refuses, believing that his attendance of the festival would be offensive to his own God. Upon second thought, Samson is overcome by a strong feeling that he is destined to attend the festival and perform an unknown task. Manoa successfully negotiates his son's release just before he finds out that Samson killed many Philistines, as well as himself, by collapsing the temple they were all standing under. For Samson, this act is an opportunity to redeem himself and earn God's forgiveness. He is given back his strength just long enough to commit the final act of destroying the temple's pillars, killing the Philistines and himself and earning his salvation.

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