Absalom and Achitophel


John Dryden

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Shimei Character Analysis

The most powerful of Achitophel’s men. Shimei is a dishonest crook who steals and cheats the Jews every chance he gets, but the Jews appoint him as their magistrate anyway. Shimei stacks juries to punish David’s supporters and set his enemies free, and during his tenure as magistrate, treason is not a crime. Shimei is one of David’s tormentors in the Bible, and in Dryden’s poem he represents Slingsby Bethel, the sheriff of London and a member of Parliament during Dryden’s time who also supported the Exclusion Bill.
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Shimei Character Timeline in Absalom and Achitophel

The timeline below shows where the character Shimei 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
Even more powerful than Jonas is Shimei, and he deeply hates David and all of the government. Shimei cheats the Jews out... (full context)