“What in Me is Dark/ Illumine”(PL 1:22-23): The “Other” Body of Samson Agonistes

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At the heart of Samson Agonistes lies a constellation of losses that cannot be overcome by any virtue that critics may accrue for Samson's 'heroic' end. I wish to investigate the nature and significance of these losses to demonstrate how the text collapses, builds and overextends itself, and in so doing, anticipates its Other: a new paradigm of “peace and consolation” ('SA’ 1757). What can we make of the wilful death of a colossal giant like Samson, whose image tutored, crafted and developed through concepts of 'consecrated' violence, ends his life embroiled in the spoils of his own carnage?

Accepting that the grand close of the Samson drama lies in the force of its narrative imagery, which powerfully depicts for us the colluding of two ideologically opposed worlds we must ask, what have we missed here?! What is the ideological breach/excess scripted in Samson's mutilated frame? How can the text be retrieved to 'illuminate' for us the trajectories of our dark histories? How can the text lead us to the pregnant Silence, the Stillness encrypted in the in-between spaces of the text‟s framing, to enable, encourage and facilitate a purposeful and energetic 'pursuit of global religious accord'.


This article was originally published as:

Fernandez, J. (2008). “What in me is dark/ Illumine”(PL 1:22-23): The “Other” body of Samson Agonistes. Forum on Public Policy Online, 2008(2). Retrieved from http://www.forumonpublicpolicy.com/summer08papers/archivesummer08/fernandez.pdf