SAMSON: Are we out in the open now?

SATAN: Well, we're out of that passage.

SAMSON: I can feel fresh air on my face.

SATAN: Yes. We're still under a roof, though.

SAMSON: Are we? Where are we, then?

SATAN: This is the Great Temple of Dagon.

SAMSON: Huh! Dagon! He's a rubbish god, he is. I don't know why they bothered building a temple for him.

SATAN: I suppose your god's better, is he?

SAMSON: Of course he is. Our God's a proper god, not a made-up one. He's miles better.

SATAN: And I suppose the Israelites are better than the Philistines, are they?

SAMSON: Of course they are. The Israelites are the chosen people. Philistines are useless.

SATAN: Then how come the Philistines rule over the Israelites, and you, the Judge of the Israelites, are standing here in fetters of brass? How come your god let you be blinded and captured?

SAMSON: Oh, that was a woman's fault. You can't blame God for that. Women are all the same. You can't trust any of them.

SATAN: Then how come your god let you fall into the hands of such a woman?

SAMSON: No, that wasn't God's fault. That was my fault, really. I've got a bit of a dodgy history with women. I always pick the wrong types.

SATAN: I thought you said they were all the same.

SAMSON: Well, you know what I mean. I should've settled down with a nice Israelite girl when I was young. I could've got married and had a family, but I wanted something different. You know, exotic pleasures, dark delights. Something a bit naughty, a woman with a bit of mischief in her eyes. But you do run the risk of getting your fingers burnt.

SATAN: Several times over.

SAMSON: Yes, true. Several times over. But the risk is part of the fun. [Pause] I like it when they tie me up.

SATAN: When they tie you up.

SAMSON: Yes, they think they've got me helpless and they're going to dominate me, and then I suddenly break my bonds, and they're like 'Eek! You're so strong! Please don't hurt me!'

SATAN: That sounds delightful.

SAMSON: It's a real turn-on, I can tell you. Is this where I'm supposed to stand?

SATAN: This'll do.

SAMSON: We'll, it's better than being stuck in that mill, anyway.

SATAN: We're on a sort of stage. You're supposed to stand between these pillars, where everyone can see you. And I've got to fasten your manacles to the pillars.

SAMSON: Huh! That doesn't make any difference to me. I could break these manacles any time I liked. Fasten away!

[Satan fastens him to the pillars.]

SAMSON: I'm the prize exhibit, am I? Is there a big crowd in here? I can hear a lot of voices.

SATAN: Quite a big crowd. The place is filling up.

SAMSON: Are they all staring at me?

SATAN: Well, you're the one they've come to see.

SAMSON: I bet I am. Are there a lot of women?

SATAN: A fair number of women.

SAMSON: Shall I flex my muscles? They love it when I flex my muscles.

[He flexes his muscles]

SAMSON: What about that? Did you hear them catch their breath? I bet the women are all staring now. I bet they're thinking 'Look at those muscles. He could crush the life out of you with those muscles.' I bet they're thinking 'My husband's nothing compared to this bloke'.

SATAN: They might be thinking something a bit more aggressive than that. They hate and despise you.

SAMSON: What, even the women?

SATAN: Yes, even the women.

SAMSON: Do you really think so? Why?

SATAN: You have killed rather a lot of Philistines in your time, Samson.

SAMSON: Only when they asked for it.

SATAN: They might not see it that way.

SAMSON: Oh come on, fair's fair. If they keep trying to capture me and play tricks on me, and plow with my heifer and all that, what can they expect?

SATAN: As I said before, I don't think they see it in those terms.

SAMSON: I was all right with them at first, wasn't I? I mean, I married a Philistine girl, and we had a proper Philistine wedding with a load of her friends and relatives as guests, everything was very friendly and nice, and then I asked them a riddle just to liven things up, but of course they couldn't play fair. They had to go and cheat. Typical Philistines.

SATAN: What was the riddle, Samson?

SAMSON: I'm surprised you haven't heard it. It was this: 'Out of the eater came forth meat; out of strength came forth sweetness'. And I knew they wouldn't be able to answer it, because it was based on something that happened to me, and nobody else knew about it. I had this fight with a lion, see, in the desert, and I killed this lion, all by myself with my bare hands. Anybody else would have gone round boasting about it, but I didn't even bother telling anyone, because I'm not the boasting type. I never boast. I never go round boasting. But that shows you how strong I am, doesn't it, if I can kill a lion with my bare hands?

SATAN: Yes, you must be very strong indeed.

SAMSON: Yeah, I am. So anyway, a few weeks later I walked by the place where I'd had this fight, and there was the dead lion, lying there, and some bees had made their nest in its carcase, sort of in-between the ribs, and they were making honey, and I took some of the honey-comb and ate it. And it stuck in my mind because, you know, it was a bit funny, that's the last place you'd expect bees to make their nest, in the body of a dead lion. So that was the answer to my riddle. 'Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of strength came forth sweetness'. D'you get it? It was quite clever, wasn't it? And they never would have guessed, only of course my wife couldn't bear not to know, you know what women are like, so she kept wheedling away at me, getting all tearful and everything, so in the end I told her, and she must have gone straight out and told it to one of them, her brother or her cousin or something. And next thing I knew they were all saying they'd guessed the riddle. They didn't even answer it properly.

SATAN: What did they say?

SAMSON: They said 'What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?' So they did sort of answer, I suppose. But I knew they'd cheated. And I was meant to give them thirty changes of garment for guessing the riddle. So I went down into the town, and I killed thirty Philistines and took their garments, and gave those to the guests. That showed them.

SATAN: It certainly did.

SAMSON: That was the start of all the trouble between me and the Philistines, really.

SATAN: Well I never. And did you ever guess the answer to their riddle?

SAMSON: What riddle? I was the one that asked a riddle, not them.

SATAN: Samson, they replied to your riddle with another riddle of their own. What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?

SAMSON: That's not a riddle, is it?

SATAN: Of course it is.

SAMSON: Then what's the answer? Is it me? I'm stronger than a lion.

SATAN: No, the answer is desire.

SAMSON: Is it?

SATAN: Yes. And just as the sweetness of honey replaced the strength of the lion, so the sweetness of desire replaced your own strength.


SAMSON: Are you sure that's the right answer?

SATAN: Yes. It definitely is.

SAMSON: Are you sure it's not God? God's stronger than a lion.

SATAN: Is he sweeter than honey?

SAMSON: Well, sort of. I suppose you could say he is.

SATAN: What, and the Philistines would think so, would they?

SAMSON: Oh, who knows what they think? What are they doing now?

SATAN: They're eating bread.

SAMSON: Eating bread? What are they doing that for?

SATAN: Do you know much about Dagon?

SAMSON: Not much. Except that he's rubbish. What else do I need to know? Anyway, what's that got to do with them eating bread?

SATAN: Dagon is the god of crops and harvests.

SAMSON: Is he? I thought he was some sort of fish-monster.

SATAN: It's true that he's often represented with a fish's tail. He looks after the harvest from the sea as well as the land. If you still had your eyes, you'd be able to see carvings of him all round this temple with a fish's tail, but also with sheaves of corn.

SAMSON: So what?

SATAN: Do you remember your trick with the foxes?

SAMSON: Oh yes, that was a good one. That proves I'm not only strong, but quick and dextrous. No ordinary man could have done that. I captured three hundred foxes, and tied them together in pairs, with a fire-brand attached to the tail of each pair, and then I let them loose in the corn-fields of the Philistines. They ran all over the place in a great panic, and set fire to all the crops! What do you think of that for a trick?

SATAN: It was more than a trick. In their eyes, it was an offence against Dagon.

SAMSON: Oh, pooh.

SATAN: Dagon is the god of crops and harvests, Samson. The god of wheat. The god of grain. Also, the god of sunlight.

SAMSON: Yeah, yeah. Good for him. Big deal.

SATAN: When the captured you, they blinded you so that you could no longer see the light of the sun, and they set you to grind corn in a dark mill. They made you subservient to Dagon.

SAMSON: Oh. I get it.

SATAN: And now they've brought you here to the Temple of Dagon, and put you on display to be mocked, and they're eating bread made from the corn you ground for them.

SAMSON: Oh. Well, if I'd known that was what it was all about, I never would have ground it.

SATAN: And when they've finished eating the bread, they will make a sacrifice.

SAMSON: What kind of sacrifice?

[Enter Delilah]

DELILAH: Hallo, Samson.

SAMSON: Who's that?

DELILAH: Don't you recognise my voice?

SAMSON: I'm not sure.

DELILAH: Oh, you must do. You can't have forgotten me.

SAMSON: You do sound vaguely familiar.

DELILAH [moving closer]: Oh Samson, surely you could never forget me? Not really? Not after all the good times we had together? You promised you never would.

SAMSON: But you're just another woman, aren't you? Women are all the same. I've been with a lot of women.

DELILAH: Oh, I know, but you've never been with one like me.

SAMSON: Wait - I think I recognise that perfume. I did use to know a woman who wore perfume like that in her hair.

DELILAH: What was she called?

SAMSON: I don't remember her name. She was an ugly old whore with droopy tits. [He grabs her.] Yes, I think it is you. What was the name again? Was it Delores?

DELILAH: Ooh Samson, you're so strong! Please don't hurt me!

SAMSON [taking hold of her throat]: I swore I'd kill you if I ever laid hands on you again, Delilah.

DELILAH: Then kill me, Samson. Kill me like you used to in the old days.

SAMSON: What here? In front of all these people? Come here, you little witch.

DELILAH: What's stronger than a lion, Samson? What's sweeter than honey?

SAMSON: Let me think. Is it God?

DELILAH: No, I believe it's me.

SAMSON: Don't flatter yourself.

[He lets her go]

DELILAH: You always did get aroused when you were tied up, didn't you?

SAMSON: And you always liked it when I suddenly broke free.

DELILAH: Are you going to break free again this time?

SAMSON: We'll have to see about that, won't we?

DELILAH: But you've had your hair cut now, Samson. You're not quite the same man you used to be.

SAMSON: This haircut was all your idea in the first place.

DELILAH: True. But I'm not sure I like it now it's been done. And your God doesn't seem to like it either. He seems to have abandoned you.

SAMSON: No, he's still here with me.

DELILAH: What, here? Here in the Great Temple of Dagon? I don't think so.

SAMSON: I do think so.

DELILAH: Well, he seems to have a funny idea of looking after you.

SAMSON: He's cross with me at the moment.

DELILAH: What, for having your hair cut?

SAMSON: Yes, and for falling in love with you.

DELILAH: So you did love me, then.

SAMSON: And for not killing as many Philistines as I could have done, when I had the chance.

DELILAH: Oh, Samson, you horrible big man! You terrible murderous villain! I hope you're not going to kill us all now, are you? You're so big and strong, and we're so little and weak! I do love it when you go all bloodthirsty, though.

SAMSON: Come back and let me caress you again, Delilah. One last embrace, for old times' sake.

DELILAH: Not right now, darling. There's something I've got to fetch first. I'll be back in a few seconds. Don't you go away!

[She goes out]

SAMSON: Where's she gone?

SATAN: I believe she's gone to fetch a pair of shears.

SAMSON: Oh, you're still there, are you?

SATAN: Yes, I'm still here.

SAMSON: What's she gone to fetch shears for?

SATAN: Well, the audience have now finished eating their bread, and it's time for the sacrifice to Dagon.

SAMSON: Oh yes. I'd forgotten about that. What, she's doing the sacrifice with a pair of shears, is she?

SATAN: I think she might be intending to cut some bits off first.

SAMSON: Oh, that's brutal. That's typical of the Philistines, that is. Blood isn't enough for them: they've got to have suffering too.

SATAN: It's an aspect of human nature, I'm afraid. I don't think it's just confined to the Philistines.

SAMSON: Well, there are times when I'm glad not to have eyes any more. There are some things I prefer not to see.

SATAN: You won't have to see this. You'll be able to feel it.

SAMSON: What, they're going to do it right up here on the stage, are they? Right next to me? What sort of animal are they sacrificing? A ram or a bull or something?

SATAN: It's like a ram or a bull, but it's neither of those.

SAMSON: What is it, then?

SATAN: It's you, you idiot.

SAMSON: Oh! I get it.

SATAN: At last.

SAMSON: They've brought me here to kill me.

SATAN: To mock you and then kill you. They've made you grind corn like a beast, and they've eaten the bread made from that corn. They've put you on a stage for everyone to see. They've hung a sign above your head that says 'The Judge of Israel', and they've brought the woman whose love betrayed you, to mutilate you with shears and then kill you.

SAMSON: They've hung a sign above my head, have they?

SATAN: Yes, between these two pillars.

SAMSON: What, there are two pillars, are there?

SATAN: Yes, one to either side of you. They support the roof. Your manacles are attached to them.

[Samson puts his hands on the two pillars.]

SAMSON: There's a big crowd in now, is there?

SATAN: Yes, the place is full up.

SAMSON: And the sign above me says 'The Judge of Israel', does it?

SATAN: Yes, it does.

SAMSON: Then let judgement be upon their heads.

SATAN [looks at the pillars, then all around]: Oh, I see. Another orgy of bloodletting. Good thinking, Samson.

SAMSON: Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.

SATAN: And exactly what kind of a lord would say that?

SAMSON: My kind.

[Delilah comes back with the shears]

DELILAH: I'm sorry to keep you waiting, darling.

SAMSON: Oh, I'm glad you're back, Delilah.

DELILAH: Are you, sweetheart?

SAMSON: I always did like it when we both finished together.

[He pushes the pillars.]