David, the king of Israel, a poetic representation of Charles II, king of England. Many dissatisfied Jews (Whigs) wish to rebel against him and secure the succession of his illegitimate son, Absalom (the duke of Monmouth), to the throne. The wiser Jews (Tories) see no cause for revolt against a just ruler.
Absalom, the illegitimate son of David, king of Israel, and a poetic representation of the duke of Monmouth, illegitimate son of Charles II, king of England. The dissident Jews (Whigs) seek to make him heir to his father’s throne.
Achitophel, the chief of the rebellious Jews (Whigs) and a poetic representation of the earl of Shaftesbury, who attempts to persuade Absalom (the duke of Monmouth) to seize his father’s throne.
Shimei (sheriff of London), and
Corah (Titus Oates), rebellious Israelite (Whig) chieftains whose characters are sketched by the poet.
Barzillai (the duke of Ormond),
Zadoc (the archbishop of Canterbury),
The Sagan of Jerusalem
The Sagan of Jerusalem (the bishop of London),
Adriel (the earl of Mulgrave),
Jotham (the marquis of Halifax),
Hushai (Laurence Hyde), and
Amiel (Edward Seymour), loyal Israelite (Tory) chieftains who convince King David (Charles II) that his son Absalom (the duke of Monmouth) is being used as a tool by Achitophel (the earl of Shaftesbury).