"Absolom and Achitopel- .
There was a dangerous crisis in 1670, both religious and political, which threatened to undo the Restoration settlement and to precipitate England once again into civil war. .
Dryden is the commanding figure of the last four decades of the seventeenth century. He is that rare phenomenon, the author in whose work the image of an age can be shown. In this poem, important aspects of the life of his times- political and religious- find expression in it. The issue it deals is the problem of succession for the king Charles II in 1680. At that time, some people were afraid of Charles II's brother -James II- because of Catholic influence-as the king's party supported the Catholic position-. Many people were against him supporting earl of Shaftesbury whose followers were termed Whigs.
"Absalom an Achitopel- is an allegorical poem because it's not straightforward , it's full of parallels between the biblical story of Absalom against his father king David. Dryden uses biblical figures to refer to Charles II-David-, Absalom-Monmouth- and Shaftesbury-Achitopel- and describes a view associated with symmetry as in Milton's "Paradise Lost-.
This poem is a great achievement for its author, where Dryden uses a satirical and argumentative verse to debate on public affaires in the form of verse satire. He was a political poet -Anglican at this time- and he was also made Poet Laureate and Historiographer since 1670, but he also had an official position, his reason and interests were all on the side of legitimism and settled government, so that the Whig agitation to exclude from succession to the throne Charles II's heir and brother James on the grounds that he was Roman Catholic and to encourage Charles's illegitimate son the duke of Monmouth to assert his claims found Dryden on the Tory side, supporting legality and the true succession.
Dryden writes an introduction in the beginning to situate the circumstances of History.