With a steady and mild hand, King David rules Israel in the time before polygamy is a sin and priest-craft begins. He spreads his seed throughout the land and has many offspring, though his true wife is Michal. Of his illegitimate children, none is more glorious and beloved than Absalom. Absalom wins renown in foreign fields and is pleasing in mind and countenance. David loves him and indulges his every whim.

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In holy times, before religion made polygamy a sin, one man was not confined to one woman. Theses sons, however, are not of royal birth and thus cannot legally ascend the throne. Absalom is handsome and full of grace, and he has proven himself a hero fighting in foreign wars. The Jebusites , who are native to Israel, begin to lose their rights.

Their taxes are increased, their land is seized, and their gods and religion are discredited. The Jebusites, in a clandestine plan, infiltrate all areas of Israel, including the courts and brothels, looking for converts.

He wants to either completely take over the government or destroy it, and he pretends to befriend David to accomplish just that. The Jews have a history of announcing a new king every 20 years or so, and Achitophel decides it is time to do just that. He knows that he can never be king, but if he must have one, he wants it to be Absalom.

Achitophel flatters Absalom with compliments of his superior virtue and reminds him that David, too, had to answer a call to the throne when he was in exile in Gath. The people are restless and crying for a new king, and Achitophel is sure if Absalom joins their cries with his royal blood, the people will choose him as their king.

Absalom is certain that if the people are turning against David, he should not fan the flames of dissention. Besides, David gives Absalom everything, except his crown, and he has already told Absalom that he would give it to him if he could. Still, Absalom does wish he had been born into royalty, so he could rightfully assert his own claim to the crown. He tells the young prince that God has made him virtuous for a reason—because he is meant to be king. Achitophel plans to wait until David has foolishly given the last of his money to the people, and then he will incite more public discord or bury David with expensive foreign wars.

Many men assist Achitophel in his quest, including Zimri , Balaam , and Caleb , but none are as powerful as Shimei. Shimei robs and cheats the Jews every chance he gets, so they decide to make him their magistrate. Worse yet is Corah , who engineered the plot. He is a priest, and his memory is impeccable. Thus, the people fail to see his deceit. Surrounded by such men, Absalom addresses the people. He claims he is outraged by their troubles, and he wishes he could suffer on their behalf.

Absalom tells the people that he loves his father, but their liberty is at stake. Then he wipes a tear from his eye and tells the people his tears are all he has to give. As the people raise their arms to Absalom in praise, he departs with Achitophel and his men in a royal procession, visiting the people of Israel.

Everywhere they go, Absalom is received with love and admiration, and Achitophel is easily able to identify any possible enemies to their cause. No sensible man would disrupt the government and dethrone their king, which will surely make their grievances worse. Despite this public opposition, however, there are still loyal men who stand by David, including Barzillani , who was in exile with David, as well as Zadock and Sagan of Jerusalem. As David speaks, thunder rocks the sky, and every Jew knows their rightful king.

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Absalom and Achitophel

Eliot, T. Frost, R. Hopkins, G. Keats, J.


Absalom and Achitophel Summary

Absalom and Achitophel is a celebrated satirical poem by John Dryden , written in heroic couplets and first published in The poem tells the Biblical tale of the rebellion of Absalom against King David ; in this context it is an allegory used to represent a story contemporary to Dryden, concerning King Charles II and the Exclusion Crisis The poem also references the Popish Plot and the Monmouth Rebellion Absalom and Achitophel is "generally acknowledged as the finest political satire in the English language".


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Absalom and Achitophel , verse satire by English poet John Dryden published in Dryden based his work on a biblical incident recorded in 2 Samuel 13— In his poem, Dryden assigns each figure in the crisis a biblical name; e. A second part of the poem—largely composed by Nahum Tate , playwright and poet laureate of Britain, but containing lines by Dryden that were directed at his literary rivals Thomas Shadwell and Elkanah Settle—was published in Absalom and Achitophel. Info Print Cite.

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