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Samson in European Literature: Some Examples from English, French and German Poetry

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents examples of a poetic tale, poetic dramas, and a lyric poem dealing with Samson taken from English, German and French literature. What did Geoffrey Chaucer, Hans Sachs, John Milton and Alfred de Vigny do to Samson? Why did they choose Samson of all biblical characters? The chapter tries to find answers to this. The General Prologue introduces the Monk as a stately appearance and a man ignoring the statutes of monastic orders. The Monk wants to relate a number of tragedies, which used to be a narrative, not a dramatic genre in the Middle Ages. The first two short tragedies deal with Lucifer and Adam, the third is about Samson. Hans Sachs's epilogues present a piece of wisdom or warning to the audience that was illustrated by the play. This Epilogue offers an interpretation of the Samson story in terms of a New Testament perspective.

Keywords: Alfred de Vigny; biblical characters; English literature; European literature; French literature; Geoffrey Chaucer; German literature; Hans Sachs; John Milton; Samson



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