Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The vast body of Milton scholarship is rich in studies of Samson Agonistes. Almost every imaginable facet of the work has received careful consideration: its biographical significance, its historical backgrounds, its link to Greek tragedy, its Hebraic source and inspiration, its structure, language, and verse forms, Throughout the critical examinations of the play, references are frequent to Aristotle's Poetics, particularlyto Milton's interpretation of the Aristotelian katharsis and to the quantitative parts of tragedy as applied to Samson Agonistes. The emphasis has been upon Milton's indebtedness to Greek tragedy, however, rather than upon his debt to the Poetics. This paper is concerned, therefore, in bringing together what has been said on the subject of Milton's debt to Aristotle, and in applying directly to Samson Agonistes Aristotle's "antient rule" as set forth in the Poetics.