Absalom and Achitophel, verse satire by English poet John Dryden published in The poem, which is written in heroic couplets, is about the Exclusion crisis . Absalom and Achitophel study guide contains a biography of John Dryden, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a. John Dryden, Poetry, Prose, and Plays, ed. Douglas Grant (Reynard Library edition: Hart-Davis, ). PR G7 ROBA. The base text is the second .

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Moreover, the kings are the trustees of the people who have every hohn to withdraw the executive authority which the king holds and weilds as their trustee. To ask other readers questions about Absalom and Achitophelplease sign up. I think it’s the first Dryden I’ve ever read, and I’m still not a fan of Restoration literature.

Absalom and Achitophel

He was the son of a weaver, but the fact of his hatching the Popish Plot raised him in the people’s esteem. He set the rumor on foot that the King himself was a Catholic at heart who had signed a secret treaty with the Catholic France, their enemy. Achitophel, though, is not satisfied with this suggestion. Absalom and Achitophel is “generally acknowledged as finest political satire in the English language”.

Absalom and Achitophel by John Dryden: Detailed Summary

His brother hates you, and is waiting for a suitable opportunity dryde annihilate you. But when to sin our biased nature leans The careful devil is still at hands with means.

That kingly power, thus ebbing out, might be Drawn to the dregs of democracy. So the real purpose of Absalom and Achitophel was cleverly concealed behind a show of love and duty for the King.


In the verse satire Absalom and Achitophelfor example, John Dryden relates in heroic couplets a scriptural story that is a thinly veiled portrait of the politicians involved in an attempt to alter the succession to the English throne.

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we’ll add it to the article. The poem also refers to some of the Popish Plot furore. Feb 13, Emily rated it did not like it Shelves: May 14, Hadeer Salem rated it liked it Shelves: Dryden based his work on a biblical incident recorded in 2 Samuel 13— He was the favorite child of his father, the King, and popular with the people.

The chief among the disgruntled band was Achitophel Shaftesbury who was surprisingly cunning and treacherous. John Dryden 19 August [O. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Dryden however, despite flirting with democratic sentiments as a young man is now a firm monarchist. And who can say that, perhaps, David himself wants to make you the king but is afraid of his brother and wants to be taken by force.

We see that Absalom is ready to reject his devotion to parents — he just started from the least important one for him.

Absalom and Achitophel by John Dryden

In fact it seems so out of proportion to the obvious quality of this work that I’ve come up with a theory here: Moreover, comparing David himself to such a woman, Achitophel urges Absalom to rape his own father. Consider that there is a difference of some years between David and Charles the Second Achitophel further confined to him that by his cunning methods he had turned the people dead against David.


The father’s forgiveness contrasts with the response of David towards Achitophel, but still the story works well for a theme that deals with problems of ascension, and Dryden uses similarities and differences in the two stories to express the poem’s themes.

In this way he raised the anger of the heedless Jews.

He bitterly rejects his mother — a terrible sin to the Biblical and modern moral standards — just for being born of low origin. Achitophel knew that as Absalom was the illegitimate son of the king and had thus no legal title to the throne, he would depend entirely on his support and backing. I think part of the problem was my not knowing that period of history very andd – both the time of David and the time of Charles I.

He also suggests that in Absalom and Achitophel he did not let the satire be too sharp to those who were least corrupt: He was surrounded by enemies on all sides. Just using the word popish They wanted law and justice, so he would now give them what they wanted.

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