The Hind and the Panther Background

The Hind and the Panther Background

The poem "The Hind and the Panther" was written and published in 1687 by Dryden, being an allegory regarding religion. During the time Dryden wrote his poem, he left the Church of England and converted to Catholicism. The poem is the longest poem written by Dryden and also his most controversial one because of the subject chosen in relation with the historical context.

In the 17th century, many churches and belief systems started to form despite the fact that officially everyone was supposed to be a member of the Church of England. The Parliament was against the new-formed religions and tried to stop them from developing.

The kings of England also started to accept other forms of religion than Anglicanism. King Charles II who ruled between 1660 and 1685, secretly leaned towards Catholicism, while King James II who ruled after him was openly catholic. James II promoted Catholicism, suspending the laws that were against Catholicism and other forms of religion and putting Catholics in high political positions.

It was during James‘ time that Dryden converted to Catholicism and many saw his allegory as a mean of proving that his decision was not influenced by the fact that the King was a catholic but rather from a genuine conviction.

The poem can be divided into three parts, the first one describing the religions that dominated that time, the second part deals with the controversial topics of church authority and transubstantiation; and the third part argues that the Crown and the Anglican and Catholic Churches should form a united front against the Nonconformist churches and the Whigs.

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