Mac Flecknoe: Lines. 112-118 - Summary & Analysis

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      Lines. 112-118. As Hannibal did.....truce with sense. Continuing the description of Shadwell's coronation, in Mac Flecknoe, Dryden refers to Hannibal who was a Carthaginian General. Hannibal at a very young age was made to swear eternal hostility to Rome by his father. Hannibal never forgot the vow and never compromised with Rome. Shadwell takes the oath to stand as an uncompromising enemy of wit and intelligence. He vowed that he would remain a dullard all his life and wage an incessant war with sense and intelligence.

      Critical Analysis. The mock-heroic pattern is here at its zenith. Against the solemn pledge of Hannibal to preserve the glory of Carthage is the vow of Shadwell to preserve the kingdom of stupidity. Again, comparisons with great heroes are used to deflate the victim. It is the sense of "disproportion" which causes laughter. The lines are a parody of Virgil. Dryden is a master at the game of comparing small men to the great and making them pigmies in the process.

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