Maggie Kilgour

in Milton and the Metamorphosis of Ovid

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199589432
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738500 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences


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The Conclusion examines Milton's drama Samson Agonistes in relation to Ovid's final exilic poetry, in which he is concerned with the interpretation and future reception of his works. At the end of his life Milton tried to control the future by arranging his final works to present a narrative of his own developing and achieved promise. At the same time, Samson offers a troubling conclusion to Milton's work and life. The vehement critical disagreements over the meaning of this poem are anticipated by the tragedy itself, which internalizes and problematizes its own reception. The chapter shows how the comparison of Samson to the phoenix recalls the end of the Metamorphoses in which Ovid also mediates on literary transmission. Milton thus returns to the questions of revision which he faced in his early works, in order to imagine himself as part of the tradition which later readers and writers will interpret and rework.

Keywords: Milton; Ovid; exile; reception; Samson Agonistes

Chapter.  14952 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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