Symbols in Absalom and Achitophel

Symbols Golden class as a symbol of misplaced veneration
In the biblical book of Exodus, the Israelite awaited Moses, their leader who had gone in search of enlightenment on Mount Sinai. During this time, without effective religious leadership, they made a golden idol in the shape of a graph and began to worship it. The golden calf was not an appropriate subject for the Israelites to worship. Dryden like in the English people’s veneration and an institution of government- a state that could be readily controlled by the people it governs- to the worship of golden calf, thereby indicating that such feeling of veneration was bad and inappropriate. The ideological notion that kings out to be constrained or limited by the government is represented as misguided.

Crown as a symbol of ruler Government and divinity appointed authorities
The text uses the word crown a decorative ornament associated with kings and rulers, to represent the kings, the government, and the legitimate authority as appointed by God. The use of the same word is to represent all these concepts lies in inviting the readers to assign to a government and to a human being the same authority they associate with their deity.

A flock of sheep as a symbol of people
The use of sheep represents a community of people with the leader as a wise shepherd, generally associated with Jesus leading his flock. It is used ironically here to tell an Old Testament story that is intended as an allegory for political events occurring in England. The Sheep represent the common English people. It suggests that people are easily swayed and led because they do not think for themselves.

Allegories rape as an allegory for rebellion
Dryden set forth a premise sometimes people cannot admit to wanting something rather, they prefer to be forced into it. Therefore, by forcing such an individual into a situation, he or she secretly desires is the person doing the forcing is doing the “victim” unnecessary and pleasing favor acting as a satirist Dryden exaggerates the argument into something so shocking it ends up supporting the opposite conclusion.

Bible story as an allegory for the exclusion crisis
The entire poem, which tells the story of Absalom and Achitophel’s rebellion against King David of Israel, is an allegory of the events that occurred in England in the late 17th century. Dryden uses biblical characters and events to comment upon the exclusion crisis and its major players ultimately supporting King Charles II in his right to the throne.

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