Samson Agonistes

by John Milton

Start Free Trial

Editor's Choice

How and why does Dalila tempt Samson in Samson Agonistes?

Expert Answers

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

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.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does Samson resist Dalila & why?

During the action of this play (or poem) Samson is in prison.  While he is there, he is visited by many people.  One of these is Dalila, his wife.  The purpose of Dalila's visit is to apologize to Samson and to try to get him to forgive her.

Samson resists Dalila by refusing to believe that she is sincere.  He does not believe that she truly has changed her ways.  He tells her so in no uncertain terms, calling her a hyena, among other things.

Samson resists Dalila because he has grown (spiritually and emotionally) in the days since he fell for Dalila.  Now he knows what is really important and this time he will not allow her to distract him from what he knows is right.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on