While Absalom and Achitophel has been read as a satire for over 300 years there is still some speculation as to whether that title is accurate. "It is, for example, a satire, except for the failed ending; or a satire except for 'serious' defenses of David and Charles; or a satire except for the tribute to Barzillai, the Duke of Ormonde, and accompanying elegy for his son, the Earl of Ossory; or in short, a satire, except for the parts that aren’t". This problem lies with the problem of not recognizing the extent to which Dryden’s satire "claims to create a self-contained hermeneutic, one that gestures toward and redirects other interpretive possibilities in order to dismiss them.”  It is for this reason that Dryden's work has been labeled as an “epic, epyllion, epic episode, satire, epic satire, Varronian satire, formal verse satire, classical oration, Jonsonian masque, political pamphlet, painting, biblical allegory, narrative, drama, chronology, music (fugal fantasia), typology, folklore, 'Poem,' and varying combinations of some of these.”
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