What is the role of  blindness in Milton's Samson Agonistes?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One way to determine the role of blindness in Samson Agonistes is to examine all the instances of blindness in the text and analyze them for thematic value. Since the answer format of eNotes does not permit a full examination,  we can look at a couple together to get started. The initial reference to blindness occurs in "The Argument" that precedes the text. In it, Milton describes the argument predicating (i.e., forming the foundation of) the text starting with an introduction of Samson's condition, situation, and present circumstance.

  • Samson is imprisoned and blind.
  • As a prisoner, Samson is a  laborer "as in a common work-house."
  • Samson has gone apart  from the others to a quiet spot in the fresh air to "bemoan his condition."

Besides describing a realistic situation, this also describes Samson's metaphorical condition and symbolizes a greater spiritual truth reflected in his error. While he previously was free, powerful and favored by God, he is now as much a spiritual prisoner of his...

(The entire section contains 527 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team