Study Guide

2 Kings Allusions

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Literary and Philosophical References

Ludovico Ariosto, Orlando Furioso
In this literary masterwork of the Renaissance, an English Knight named "Astolfo" flies to the moon in Elijah's chariot... Far out.

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
In Margaret Atwood's nightmarish vision of the future, where women are totally enslaved by men, the prostitutes in the dystopian country of "Gilead" (where the book is set) are called "Jezebels."

William Blake, "And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time?"
Blake's great poem—a kind of second national anthem in Britain, even—references Elijah's chariot of fire and Joash's arrow of victory. He helps makes these events from the Hebrew Bible seem like a part of lived-reality in the Britain of his time.

Lord Byron, "The Destruction of Sennacherib"
One of this hard-living and skeptical writer's best-known poems is surprisingly Biblical. It narrates the Sennacherib's crushing defeat at the hands of the angel of God in attractively rhythmical verses.

William Golding, The Lord of the Flies
At the very beginning of 2 Kings, Ahab's son Ahaziah sends messengers to consult Beelzebub (or Baal-zebub), "The Lord of the Flies," to see if he'll recover from a bad fall. Golding uses the name of this wicked deity for the title of his classic book about a group of school-kids who descend into chaos while stranded on a remote island (a severed pig-head ends up playing the role of the "Lord" of the title).

Pop Culture References


Chariots of Fire
This movie won Best Picture at the 1981 Academy Awards. It's famous for its soundtrack (which you'll probably recognize), but it's also got a pretty good story about two Olympian runners.

Starring Bette Davis, this movie takes place in the pre-Civil War American South. It's not about the actual story of Jezebel, but it makes references to it in charting the tale of its main character. However, this Jezebel isn't so bad—she's significantly kinder than her namesake.

Popular Blogs
This popular feminist blog started as a spin-off site from Gawker, but it's become an even bigger deal than its parent site.

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