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With a steady and mild hand, King David rules Israel in the time before polygamy is a sin and priest-craft begins.

He spreads his seed throughout the land and has many offspring, though his true wife is Michal. Of his illegitimate children, none is more glorious and beloved than Absalom. Absalom wins renown in foreign fields and is pleasing in mind and countenance. David loves him and indulges his every whim.

The Jews are capricious, tempestuous people who often throw off their ruler for a new one. They mutter and complain, but nothing comes of it while they are disunited. Factions stir up and begin to threaten the government. He is restless and desirous of fame, so he decides he must find a way to ruin David.

He is aware of how easily swayed the people are, and he turns to the handsome Absalom into his pawn. Achitophel compliments and charms Absalom, telling him that it is a shame his low birth seemingly precludes him from taking the throne. He sees himself as destined for greatness. Achitophel devises his plan and sends Absalom out to the people to curry their favor and turn them against his father.

He warns the young man of his uncle and tells him he must try for the crown while his father still lives. Achitophel begins to work within the populace, fomenting dissent and unrest. Absalom goes before the people and wins their love easily. His popularity and pomp distract from the plot at hand. Dryden accounts for some of the most dangerous, corrupt men in the city, as well as the small but loyal band that stays with David as the tensions mount.

Finally, King David speaks, asserting his legitimacy and power in a manner that brooks no refutation or dissension. Critical Note. Achitophel begins to Give a brief character sketch of Bathsheba.

Bathsheba was David's lover. After committing adultery with Bathsheba, David sent her husband Uriah into battle, where he was slain. David then married her. Bathsheba represents Louise de Keroualle, the Duchess of Portsmouth, who was one of Absalom and Achitophel study guide contains a biography of John Dryden, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis of the poem.

Absalom and Achitophel essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of the poem Absalom and Achitophel by John Dryden. Remember me. Forgot your password? Buy Study Guide. Study Guide for Absalom and Achitophel Absalom and Achitophel study guide contains a biography of John Dryden, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis of the poem.

Essays for Absalom and Achitophel Absalom and Achitophel essays are academic essays for citation.


Absalom and Achitophel

In holy times, before religion made polygamy a sin, one man was not confined to one woman. Theses sons, however, are not of royal birth and thus cannot legally ascend the throne. Absalom is handsome and full of grace, and he has proven himself a hero fighting in foreign wars. The Jebusites , who are native to Israel, begin to lose their rights. Their taxes are increased, their land is seized, and their gods and religion are discredited. The Jebusites, in a clandestine plan, infiltrate all areas of Israel, including the courts and brothels, looking for converts.


Absalom and Achitophel Summary

And he has no peer as a writer of prose, especially literary criticism, and as a translator. Prose Home Harriet Blog. Visit Home Events Exhibitions Library. Newsletter Subscribe Give. Poetry Foundation. Back to Previous. Absalom and Achitophel.


Absalom and Achitophel is a celebrated satirical poem by John Dryden , written in heroic couplets and first published in The poem tells the Biblical tale of the rebellion of Absalom against King David ; in this context it is an allegory used to represent a story contemporary to Dryden, concerning King Charles II and the Exclusion Crisis The poem also references the Popish Plot and the Monmouth Rebellion Absalom and Achitophel is "generally acknowledged as the finest political satire in the English language". In the prologue, "To the Reader", Dryden states that "the true end of satire is the amendment of vices by correction". He also suggests that in Absalom and Achitophel he did not let the satire be too sharp to those who were least corrupt: "I confess I have laid in for those, by rebating the satire, where justice would allow it, from carrying too sharp an edge. Absalom and Achitophel has inspired a great deal of discussion regarding satire: how satire was defined when Dryden wrote, and how this poem contrasts with the ancient models of Horace , Virgil , and Juvenal.

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