John Dryden: Absalom and Achitophel
Prompt 1: Satire in the Restoration Period is instructive of the nature of moral philosophy, ideal for criticism and for the double role of pleasure and instruction, concerned to hold men responsible to a high standard of honor and reasonable behavior, supporting the need for law and order: What does John Dryden, the satirist, define as “a high standard of honor and reasonable behavior?” What does he speak out against? How does he use satire to justify his purpose?
Prompt 2: The world of Dryden is divided into fools and knaves, easy prey to the designs of selfish ambition. So where do you suppose Absalom falls within this division? Is he easy prey? In your response, identify both Absalom’s weaknesses and strengths to support your argument.