Absalom and Achitophel

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An allegorical poem by Dryden, published 1681. A mock‐biblical satire based on 2 Sam. 13–19, it deals with the intrigues of the earl of Shaftesbury and the ambition of the duke of Monmouth to replace James duke of York as CharlesII's heir. Various public figures are represented under biblical names, notably Monmouth (Absalom), Shaftesbury, first Baron Ashley (Achitophel), the second duke of Buckingham (Zimri), Charles II (David), Oates (Corah), and Slingsby Bethel, sheriff of London (Shimei). In 1682 a second part appeared, mainly written by N. Tate. However, it contains 200 lines by Dryden, in which he attacks two literary and political enemies, Shadwell as Og and Settle as Doeg.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

John Dryden (1631—1700) poet, playwright, and critic

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