Absalom and Achitophel


John Dryden

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Barzillai’s Eldest Son Character Analysis

The son of one of David’s trusted men, who has died and is forever mourned by the speaker of “Absalom and Achitophel.” Barzillai’s eldest son likely represents Thomas Butler, Earl of Ossory. Butler was the son of the 1st Duke of Ormond, who is represented in Dryden’s Barzillai. The Earl of Ossory died in 1680, and Dryden dedicated his book of poems called Fables to him.
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Barzillai’s Eldest Son Character Timeline in Absalom and Achitophel

The timeline below shows where the character Barzillai’s Eldest Son appears in Absalom and Achitophel. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Absalom and Achitophel
Politics, Allegory, and Satire Theme Icon
...and traveled back with him to Israel. Barzillai is very rich and very kind, and Barzillai’s eldest son —“snatched in manhood’s prime”—will forever be grieved by the poet. (full context)