Hudibras by Samuel Butler

Samuel Butler is an English novelist and artist. He became popular for his utopian satire, Erewhon, and the novel, The Way of All Flesh, an autobiographical novel. It focuses on the hypocrisy of the contemporary age. He is famous for writing a long satirical poem, Hudibras.

Hudibras is a mock-heroic satiric poem. This poem basically attacks the Puritans, Presbyterians and those people who are involved in the English Civil War. Hudibras is about eleven thousand lines and divided into three parts. The first one is published in 1663, the second one is in 1664 and the third one in 1678.

The first edition, incorporating the three parts, is published in 1684. It is published four years after the restoration of Charles II in England.

This poem has mesmerized Charles II very much. Through the poem, Samuel Butler has tried to portray the socio-religious context of his age. Cervantes’ Don Quixote has influenced him greatly. But in Cervantes’, the noble knight is being mocked just to draw readers’ sympathies, whereas Hudibras is about nothing but mockery.

Hudibras short summary

Hudibras is a mock narrative poem of the restoration age. This is satirically harsh upon the Puritans, Presbyterians and others who have been engaged in the English Civil War. The epic tells the story of Sir Hudibras, an arrogant Presbyterian knight.

He is praised for his knowledge of logic, although he appears stupid throughout the verse. He has some wit and he knows many languages.

He rode out against the monarchy during the English civil war. Hudibras has a squire called, Ralpho. As Hudibras rides ahead with his skinny old horse and Ralpho, to rectify the original definition of sins. Meanwhile, they face multiple troubles.

They are entangled with a fight with bear baiters. Sir Hudibras and Ralpho quarrel over their condition. A widow comes and sets them free from the situation.

Butler Hudibras is a satire on

Hudibras is a satire and it highlights its character and connects with the contemporary world. As this satire directly attacks the Puritans, it delighted King Charles II. The satire is basically written against the Puritans and their hypocrisy. Although Hudibras and Ralpho are representatives of the Puritans they go beyond the social limitations. The satire divides the knight and Puritans.

Hudibras is an attack on

Hudibras, a satiric heroic poem by Samuel Butler, is an attack on the puritans, Presbyterian and the pretentiousness, dogmatism and hypocrisy of militant Puritanism.

Hudibras by Samuel Butler analysis

The poem, Hudibras is about the protest against the monarchy during the English Civil War.

The title of the poem is taken from the name of a knight in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. Spenser, on the other hand, got the name from the king of the Britons, Rud Hud Hudibras.

The poem is built with an octosyllabic couplet. Butler prefers curious double rhymes. His couplets are unmusical and he has used feminine rhyming techniques. Hudibras is written in iambic tetrameter with closed couplets.

The subject matter undercuts the importance which is called, Hudibrastic. The main stories of the poem are disconnected. The characterization is not powerful. On one hand, Hudibras is a combination of incongruous traits and Presbyterian knight errant.

On the other hand, his character is ridiculous and cowardly. Minor characters have been identified but it is unimportant.

The story itself is a satire on Puritanism, which portrays the ridicule of the contemporary age. The image of Puritanism is flagrant and most unfair satire. Butler is orthodox in politics and a rationalist in religion.

He incorporates religion, science, matrimony and superstitions with satires of socio-political, moral, literary themes.
Hudibras lacks poetry and consistency. The style of the poem is mixed with diction and figures of speech. Butler uses the iambic tetrameter with a twist.

He changes the vowel rhymes and mixes two monosyllabic words and forces it to rhyme with a dissyllable. To show knowledge for illustrations, Butler works with the rhyme to make the burlesque effect.

Hudibras as a restoration satire

The Restoration age is known for the great spirit of satire. In the hands of Dryden satire became a better and effective weapon of offence, correction, and self-expression. The spirit of satire did not evident itself just in the satirical verses of Dryden, Butler, and others, but also in Restoration tragedy as well as comedy.

The Restoration period is a milestone for the literature. Hudibras, appeared in three parts in 1663, 1664 and 1678, each part consists of three cantos. It was a satire on the Puritans who had been involved with the restoration of Charles II to the throne of England in 1660. The poem is structureless and gross in some places.

Hudibras is a satire of restoration, presenting knights. It is similar to Cervantes’ Don Quixote which is also a parody. The title “Hudibras” is taken from Spenser’s Faerie Queene.

The character, Hudibras is a Presbyterian who is hypocritical, shy and cowardly. Ralpho is his squire. The hero rides a horse and with his squire, in search of some adventure. Both sir Hudibras and his squire keep quarrelling about religion, and their quarrels consume a huge part of the poem.

The first adventure of Hudibras and Ralpho is their fight with the bear-baiters. The Puritans are against all kind of sports. That includes bear-baiting not because bear-baiting causes pain to the bear but because it is pleasurable to the audience. They entangle themselves in a fight.

In part II Hudibras is now fallen in love with a widow and with her property too. The widow asks him to submit his whipping to achieve her favour. Hudibras requests Ralpho to represent him. A loud quarrel takes place between them. Hudibras gets apart from Ralpho.

In part III Hudibras is portrayed as going alone to the widow to request for her favour. On hearing a knock he hides under a bed thinking that it is the ghost of the astrologer who has come to take revenge. His timidity is proved here.

After escaping he consults a lawyer who advises him to write love-letters to his beloved. The rest of the part does not proceed with the story. The poem ends in a cliff-hanger. Maybe Butler had thought of publishing fourth part.

Hudibras Encounters the Skimmington

In their journey, they are interrupted by Skimmington. It is a procession where women are commemorated and men are made clowns. After lecturing the crowd for their indecency, the knight is bombarded with rotten eggs and later chased after.

They see a shrewish wife and hen-pecked husband are mocked by their neighbours, cuckold’s horns and, a cat is thrown at them. Hudibras rides into the crowd to protest and this, he describes it as a Devil’s Procession.

Who wrote Hudibras

Samuel Butler, an English satirist and critic wrote Hudibras in the 17th century.

Hudibras meaning

Hero of Samuel Butler’s Hudibras, who is a knight.

Hudibras meaning in Urdu

سیموئل بٹلر کے ہیڈیبراس کا ہیرو ، ایک طنز و بہادر نظم۔

Hudibras plot

The poem Hudibras is a journey of the adventures of Sir Hudibras. The knight and his squire, Ralpho, move forward and faces some bear-baiters. After realizing that this is anti-Christian they attack the baiters. The defeated group of bear-baiters then again attacks, and captures the knight and his squire. Meanwhile, Hudibras and Ralpho quarrel about religion.

Then They are interrupted by Skimmington, a procession where women are being celebrated and men made fools. After spreading the crowd for their lewdness, the knight is bombarded with rotten eggs.

The second part describes how Hudibras’s situation is reported to a widow, he has been wooing. She complains that he does not really love her and he ends up promising to whip himself if she frees him. Once gets free then he regrets his promise and argues with Ralpho how to avoid his fate.

Then He decides to visit an astrologer, Sidrophel, to consult how he should woo the widow but soon they get into a fight. The knight and squire get drifted apart, believing they have killed Sidrophel.

The third part was published 14 years after the first two and is very different from the previous parts. It starts from where the second part ends. Hudibras goes to the widow’s house to explain everything. But he sees Ralpho has gone there first and told her everything, what had actually happened.

Suddenly a group rushes in and beats Hudibras. He thinks them to be spirits from Sidrophel and confesses all his sins. The poem ends with their exchange of letters where Hudibras is rejected by the widow.

Hudibras theme

Hudibras is written against the Puritans. The Puritan is a “Church Militant” and they like fights. They can’t leave their religion. they want to improve their religion.

The poem portrays the attitude of the Restoration age toward Puritans. During this period the Puritans were marked as responsible for driving England into a state of disarray by bringing an end to the monarchy. The poem reflects the visions of Puritans during the time. Butler’s poem, Hudibras is based on the theme of pun, wit and romanticism.

Hudibras as a mock-heroic poem

Mock-heroic poem is a kind of satirical parody, famous in the post-Restoration age and Augustan age in England. The origin of the mock-heroic satirical poem is the comic poem Hudibras, by Samuel Butler. The poem describes a Puritan knight during the Restoration age.

A mock-heroic poem ridicules the conventions of the heroic poem. Samuel Butler established the character of Hudibras to shallow the seriousness of the heroic poem using mockery.

Hudibras created a particular verse form, named “Hudibrastic.” The Hudibrastic is a kind of poem with closed rhyming couplets in iambic tetrameter, which uses feminine rhymes. The twisted and unexpected rhymes heighten the comic effect of the satire. This formulation of satire has highlighted one form of mock-heroic among the others.

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