Anti-Achitophel (1682) Three Verse Replies to Absalom and Achitophel by John Dryden

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Achitophel, realising that the rebellion is doomed to failure, goes home and hangs himself. Absalom is killed against David's explicit commands after getting caught by his hair in the thick branches of a great oak tree: "His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on" NRSV 2 Sam.

The death of his son, Absalom, causes David enormous personal grief. A second allegory in the poem, beginning on line , is the Parable of the Prodigal Son , which can be found in the New Testament in the Gospel of Luke , chapter 15 , verse It is the tale of a son who asks for his birthright early, loses it, and returns to his father, who then takes pity on him and shares with him his remaining fortune. 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.

Anti-Achitophel (1682) Three Verse Replies to Absalom and Achitophel by John Dryden (Paperback)

Ideas from this second allegory occur throughout the poem. In in England, Charles II was aged He had had a number of mistresses and produced a number of illegitimate children. One of these was James Scott , the Duke of Monmouth , who was very popular, both for his personal charisma and his fervor for the Protestant cause.


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In the spring of , at the Oxford Parliament , Shaftesbury appealed to Charles to legitimise Monmouth. Monmouth was caught preparing to rebel and seek the throne, and Shaftesbury was suspected of fostering this rebellion.

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The poem was written, possibly at Charles's behest, and published in early November A trial before a jury picked by Whig sheriffs acquitted him. Later, after the death of his father, the Duke of Monmouth—unwilling to see his uncle James become King—executed his plans and went into full revolt.

The Monmouth Rebellion was put down, and in the Duke was executed. Dryden's poem tells the story of the first foment by making Monmouth into Absalom , the beloved boy, Charles into David who also had some philandering , and Shaftesbury into Achitophel. It paints Buckingham , an old enemy of Dryden's see The Rehearsal for one example , into Zimri , the unfaithful servant. The poem places most of the blame for the rebellion on Shaftesbury, and makes Charles a very reluctant and loving man who has to be king before father.

The poem also refers to some of the Popish Plot furore. Dryden uses the fatherly indulgence of David lines to explore the legitimacy of Absalom's succession. Dryden uses an old story, The Prodigal Son, to create a clear picture of how self-indulgent love creates unfair conflict. In this reading the blame is transferred to the females, saying that only the female power of life threatens the political order and should be hindered.

#Absalom and Achitophel Summary #NTA NET/JRF ENGLISH Analysis of Absalom and Achitophel

Within the renaissance philosophers and writers were interested in the idea of superiority of bastards. It was a common idea at that time that bastards were better than their legitimate counterparts.

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It was thought that the greater passion and desire that went into making bastards made them better. An inclusion of this idea in a satirical piece could have many implications. Absalom and Achitophel stands alone as a complete poem by John Dryden as it was published in Its success led others to encourage Dryden to continue the story, to keep up with current events of the time.

Dryden declined the suggestion, but his friend Nahum Tate took it up and wrote a second part, publishing it the following year, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Author:Samuel Pordage

Absalom and Achitophel. The Cambridge Guide to English Literature. Cambridge University Press. April 29, Cambridge University Press, Academic Search Premier. Clarendon Press.