Satire[ edit ] Absalom and Achitophel is "generally acknowledged as the finest political satire in the English language". 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. But how hard to make a man appear a fool, a blockhead, or a knave, without using any of those opprobrious terms? And he for whom it was intended, was too witty to resent it as an injury … And thus, my lord, you see I have preferred the manner of Horace, and of your Lordship, in this kind of satire, to that of Juvenal. The beautiful Absalom is distinguished by his extraordinarily abundant hair, which is thought to symbolise his pride 2 Sam.

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His Absalom and Achitophel characters is considered as one of his best political satire. The poem is allegoric in nature. Dryden uses the device of allegory in order to criticize the political situation of his time. The restoration of England Monarchy began in During these several years, there was no monarchy in England.

In in England, Charles II was in his advanced years and had no legitimate heirs. His brother, James II was not liked by people because of his intense incline towards Roman Catholics. On the other hand, James Scott, the illegitimate son of King Charles and the Duke of Monmouth, was very popular for both his personal charisma and his favor for the Protestants.

Moreover, there was also a prevailing tussle among the Wighs and Tories. People were eager to see Duke of Monmouth as their future king, but according to the law of succession, he could not rule the nation. Wighs ignited the fire of rebellion against King Charles. The James Scott was manipulated by Earl of Shaftesbury to rebel against his father. The James Scott was caught preparing to rebel and this lead to his execution by the orders of James II in Through this poem, Dryden lampooned the Wighs and Earl of Shaftesbury.

However, he did not use harsh criticism for James Scott. Absalom and Achitophel veils its political satire under the transparent disguise of a Biblical Story.

This poem perfectly depicts the existing crisis and political issues of the contemporary society. Absalom was persuaded by Achitophel to rebel against King David. Dryden, using the Biblical Allegory, satirizes Achitophel and those who were following him. The satire proceeds from leader to the followers: the Whigs.

Through his poem, Dryden wants to tell King Charles that James Scott was not guilty because the person who inflamed the will of rebellion in James Scott was Earl of Shaftesbury. The poem also satirized King Charles but not in harsh words. Absalom and Achitophel remains the greatest political satire in English Literature, partly because of its judicious and moderate satire and partly because of its true depiction of the follies and vices that prevails in a particular section of the nation.

We have professional writers to help you out with your academic summary. You can hire an expert at an economical price to write your "Absalom and Achitophel Summary". The complexity, length academic level and time frame are all key factors in determining the charge we apply to each essay.


Absalom and Achitophel

His Absalom and Achitophel characters is considered as one of his best political satire. The poem is allegoric in nature. Dryden uses the device of allegory in order to criticize the political situation of his time. The restoration of England Monarchy began in During these several years, there was no monarchy in England.



God, Religion, and the Divine Right of Kings Themes and Colors LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Absalom and Achitophel, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. Through the deceit of Achitophel, a politician who sows dissention among the Jews, Dryden allegorizes the Popish Plot and implies the fabricated plot is merely an attempt to breed strife between David and the government, or, figuratively, between Parliament and Charles II of England. The war was a victory for Parliament; Charles I was executed and the Commonwealth of England was created. The monarchy was restored in , and Charles II ascended the throne. With this reference, Dryden implies that the Popish Plot is little more than a revival of the Good Old Cause and an attempt to dethrone a king. However, the paranoia and anti-Catholic sentiments the plot churned up led directly to the Exclusion Crisis, which again pitted Parliament against the king.


Absalom and Achitophel as a Political Satire

Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden. For this opportunity he had been unconsciously preparing himself as a dramatist; and it was in the nature of things, and in accordance with the responsiveness of his genius to the calls made upon it by time and circumstance, that, in the season of a great political crisis, he should have rapidly perceived his chance of decisively influencing public opinion by an exposure of the aims and methods of the party of revolution. This he proposed to accomplish, not by a poetic summary of the rights of the case, or by a sermon in verse on the sins of factiousness, corruption and treason, but by holding up to the times and their troubles, with no magisterial air or dictatorial gesture, a mirror in which, under a happily contrived disgvise, the true friends and the real foes of their king and country should be recognised. For many months, Shaftesbury, who, after serving and abandoning a succession of governments, had passed into opposition, had seemed to direct the storm. Two parliaments had been called in turn, and twice the Exclusion bill had been rejected by the lords. Then, as the whig leader seemed to have thrown all hesitation to the winds, and was either driving his party or being driven by it into extremities from which there was no return, a tremor of reaction ran through the land, the party round the king gathered confidence, and, evidence supposed sufficient to support the charge having been swept in, Shaftesbury was committed to the Tower on a charge of high treason.


Absalom and Achitophel as a Politival Satire

Satire is different from scolding and sheer abuse, though it is prompted by indignation. Its aim is generally constructive, and need not arise from cynicism or misanthropy. The satirist applies the test of certain ethical, intellectual and social standards to men and women, and determines their degree of criminality or culpability. Satire naturally has a wide range; it can involve an attack on the vices of an age, or the defects of an individual or the follies common to the very species of mankind. Absalom and Achitophel is a landmark political satire by John Dryden. Dryden marks his satire with a concentrated and convincing poetic style. The obscure and the complicated is made clear and simple.

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