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Milton in the Long Restoration$
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Blair Hoxby and Ann Baynes Coiro

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198769774

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198769774.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 16 May 2022

‘In Power of Others, Never in My Own’

‘In Power of Others, Never in My Own’

The Meaning of Slavery in Samson Agonistes

Chapter:
(p.284) 15 ‘In Power of Others, Never in My Own’
Source:
Milton in the Long Restoration
Author(s):

Martin Dzelzainis

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198769774.003.0016

While much has been written on Milton and liberty, especially in relation to republicanism, its antonym—slavery—has attracted little attention, even in the case of Samson Agonistes. This chapter supplies a genuinely historical account of what type of slave Samson is, and what kind of prison the prison in Gaza is, drawing on the Roman materials in Milton’s Latin projects of the 1650s—the defences, De doctrina Christiana, and the Thesaurus. However, despite the effort Milton puts into the physical realization of Samson’s condition as a slave, to Samson himself this is not true slavery, which is actually an inward condition. For Samson to free himself from inward slavery is to become the slave of God instead.

Keywords:   Samson Agonistes, Samson, slavery, freedom, liberty, Salmasius, defences, De Doctrina Christiana

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