Overview of Absalom and Achitophel

The neo-classical age place the epic at the top of the hierarchy of various poetic compositions. This leads the poets of the late 17th and early 18th century to attempt to write Epic poetry. Dryden instead chooses a mock-heroic trend as a means of representing and satirizing especially different socio-political ages. A mock-epic or the mock-heroic imitates the elaborate form and ceremonious style of the epic genre but usually applies them to a commonplace or trivial subject matter.

Poetic style

Dryden wrote this poem in an eloquent flexible, cogent yet controversial poem. According to David Daiches Dryden build on the ‘Reform of our members’ the perfect wase poetic style. Dr. Johnson Heiled Dryden and said that Dryden was the founder of the “new verification” and with him, it is apparent that English poetry has did not tend to revert to its former savageness. Johnson also remarked that before Dryden no poetical diction, no refined use of words was appropriated to arts. Critics have stated that it was in Dryden’s prologue and epilogue two places that he achieved that great strength. He could be Ironic, satirical, critical, humorous, or indent in a variety of ways. Absalom and Achitophel is a famous example of Dryden’s clear summative statement and the greatest achievement of his argumentative verse. The style of poem is essentially heroic which means that the plot, the character, the wit, the passion, and the description are all amplified above the level of common conversation. The style is best adapted to the biblical allegory and a narrative of great political evils during 17th century England.

Polish plot

Charles II had no legitimate son after him his brother James was supposed to sit on the throne. The plot was made to exclude him from the throne and create the atmosphere to make the Duke of Monmouth sit on the throne, this controversy was called the Popish plot by Titus Oatis.

Absalom and achitophel was published in 1681. Absalom and Achitophel was a contribution to the debate on public affairs in the form of verse satire. Dryden’s reason and intents were all on the side of legitimate and settled government so that the whig agitation to exclude from the succession. Charles II heir and his brother James on the ground that he was a Roman Catholic. And to encourage Charles’s legitimate son the Duke of Monument to assert his claim found Dryden on the Jory side. Supporting legality and the true succession protectants whig agitation in favor of exclusion of James from the succession was led by Earl of Shaftesbury and the Duke of Buckingham. Dryden took the biblical story of the rebellion of Absalom against his father King David and applied it to the contemporary situation with Charles II.

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