Satire in Absalom And Achitophel by John Dryden

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Satire and its Purpose

Satire can be said to be literature method, which is declared an aim of which is the transformation of society weakness or iniquities by happiness or hatred. Satire is unique from scolding along with the sheer abuse, even though it is prompted through indignation. Its purpose is mainly constructive, however, it did not require to come from cynicism or misanthropy. Notably, the poem points out that the satirist relates the test of certain moral, intellectual along with values towards men and women, and defines their criminality level or responsibility. Therefore, satire generally contains a broad range where it can include an outbreak towards the iniquities of a period, or a person's defects or the follies common to the very kinds of humanity.

Absalom and Achitophel: A Revolutionary Political Satire

According to Dryden and John et al. (4), Absalom and Achitophel is a revolutionary political satire by John Dryden. In this context, his satire is marked with a determined as well as convincing poetic style. For example, his satiric verse is majestic, what pope call "The long majestic march and divined power". Critics have unanimously remarked on Dryden's ability to change the trivial into one's poetical envy and into the fury of imaginative construction. All this change of authority is to be recognized at the start of Absalom and Achitophel. The state of 'Israel' is easy to understand and the Dryden indicates personally a master both of the Horatian as well as Juvenalian satire styles.

Epics and Heroic Traces in Absalom and Achitophel

Absalom and Achitophel are called 'a poem' and not a satire, which shows therefore that it contains foundations rather than purely ironic. For example, one cannot denies the observable epic or heroic traces. Actually, the poem was created in the political situation of England, therefore an individual can't afford to recognize that a number of political individualities are satirized in the poem (Dryden and John et al., 4).

Dryden's Poetry and its Reception

Nevertheless, in enumerating the alleged of Dryden or actual shortcomings, both in his behavior and his work, is known to be either easy. Accordingly, it has long been the general area in asserting that doesn't excel in an understanding of reasoning, that he was always much concerned in the stylistic rather than in the theoretical value of his words. In fact, it would seem that these nations require reconsideration after the careful study of Bredvold. Dryden was extremely concerned in 17th-century philosophical issues however, he did not hesitate in informing own audience concerning his views. On the other hand, it cannot be rejected, that his literature did not contain specific qualities that are vaguely felt as poetic; ''wonder along with brooding reverie were never of his universe; the illusion divine was not also for him''. (Dryden and John et al., 5). Furthermore, this rather narrow poetry view has been prevented several readers from accepting Dryden's work. However, he was in some point a hack-author, personally driven in his anxiety in supplying the market, as well as his abject adulation of superiors along with patrons, even though partly because of the beliefs of the time, can merely give favor in the eyes of contemporary readers.

Dryden's Religious and Philosophical Concepts

Essentially, it might at the same time be regretted that the licentiousness of ''good King Charles's golden moments'' discovers many illustrations in the comedies of Dryden. Dryden was always was inconsistent, particularly in his disapproval, but at the same time in his religious matters towards a lesser political level (Brodwin and Leonora 24). Religious matters concerning Dryden is not to be separated from his philosophical concepts. At the same time, he doubted the competence of reason regarding religious matters that can easily be proved from starting verses of Religio Laici ''Dim as the borrowed beams of moon and stars, to lonely, weary, wandering travelers, Is the reason to the soul''. Hence, the underlying skepticism of these lines might at least partly explore the conversion of Dryden to Roman Catholicism.

The Role of Roman Catholicism in Dryden's Conversion

According to Brodwin and Leonora (25) a soul left to doubts along with worries, distrusting reason in deciding what is real in a flood of controversial articles as well as letters, is apt to find for reality along with protection in an 'infallible' house of worship. However, Roman Catholic propaganda in England deliberately aimed at weakening human's trust in reason, in leading him in the edge to the one seat of authority, that is known as Papal Throne. Furthermore, this present in Roman Catholic apologetics was a way of fideism that laid depression on individual religious knowledge at the cost of the value of reason and of the entire scripture adequacy. However, it is certainly not the experienced Roman Catholic Church theology, but it was a major efficient way of persuading the likes of Dryden in the look of protection and government power.


Conclusively, there are several various kinds of comprehending Dryden's poem Absalom and Achitophel. The major general understanding compares 'the relationship amongst fatherhood and kingship'. However, by biblical allusions, Dryden relates classical fatherhood with present activities not only showing a precedent but at the same time showing the way it relates to royal's capabilities. Dryden practices the elderly indulgence of David (verse 31-33) to explain the legitimacy of the succession of Absalom. He also emphasizes concerning the narrative of the prodigal son, in creating a clear picture of how individual generous love forms dispute that is unfair. Moreover, the whole of the poem the connection of fatherhood and kingship is combined.

Work Cited

Brodwin, Leonora Leet. "Miltonic Allusion in"Absalom and Achitophel": Its Function in the   Political Satire."The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 68.1 (1969): 24-44.

Dryden, John, et al. Absalom and Achitophel: A poem. JT and are to be sold, 1708.

November 24, 2023



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