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In blaming Dalila, he rationalises his actions and removes blame from himself, which is similar to what Adam attempts in Paradise Lost after the fall.However, Samson develops through the play and Dalila reveals that she is concerned only with her status among her people.In writing the poem and choosing the character of Samson as his hero, Milton was also illustrating his own blindness, which afflicted him in his later life.Samson Agonistes draws on the story of Samson from the Old Testament, Judges 13–16; in fact it is a dramatisation of the story starting at Judges . Samson has been captured by the Philistines, had his hair, the container of his strength, cut off and his eyes cut out.Women, and men's desire for women, are connected to idolatry against God and the idea that there is no possibility for the sacred within the bonds of marital love.Samson, who is both holy and desirous of Delila, is seduced into betraying the source of his strength, and thus betrays God.The Chorus discusses how God grants individuals with the power to free his people from their bonds, especially through violent means: The last two hundred and fifty lines describe the violent act that actually occurs while the play was unfolding: Samson is granted the power to destroy the temple and kill all of the Philistines along with himself.However, this event does not take place on stage but is told through others.
Nor is nature wanting in her own effects to make good his assertion: for so in physic things of melancholic hue and quality are used against melancholy, sour against sour, salt to remove salt humors.
Although Samson is the hero and he causes the violence, Elizabeth Sauer points out that "Milton devotes nearly twice as many lines to the Chorus’ reactions in the denouement than to the Messenger’s description of the catastrophe in order to deemphasize spectacle and performance and instead to highlight the interior drama while encouraging active interpretation of the reported events".
The play, focusing around the betrayal of Samson at the hands of Dalila, his wife, produces a negative portrayal of love and love's effects.
Acts of violence are an important theme within Samson Agonistes as the play attempts to deal with revenge and the destruction of God's enemies. Against the backdrop of the challenge posed by suicide terrorism, Arata Takeda points to ethical implications arising from Samson's "brutal massacre committed against civilians attending a religious feast" and the following "lyrical extolment of the suicide mass murder".
Michael Lieb posits that "the drama is a work of violence to its very core. The play itself suggests the horror within the actions through descriptive phrases, including "evil news" (line 538), "this so horrid spectacle" (line 1542), "the place of horror" (line 1550) and "the sad event" (line 1551).