Mac Flecknoe: Lines. 145-156 - Summary & Analysis

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      Lines. 145-156. Then thus continued.....want of sense. In Mac Flecknoe, after the coronation ceremony was over, vultures appeared and the admiring crowd raised shouts of joy. Inspired by the emotions of the moment, and after struggling in vain to cope with those emotions, Flecknoe poured forth into the following speech. He prayed for Shadwell's success in the future. He advised him to advance in the direction of greater ignorance and never to care for success or reputation. He himself had the experience of writing for a long period but had produced nothing worthwhile. Shadwell should learn from him the art of laboring hard to produce nothing. He should write Virtuoso in five years, i.e. take a long time to produce nonsense. The process of composition may be slow but the most important thing was that his works should never possess the slightest element of wit and sense.

      Flecknoe further advised him to write according to the inclinations of his stupid brain. No one should be able to charge Shadwell with having wit. Sir George Etherege's plays may steal the show on stage, but Shadwell should not bother about it. Sir George’s characters would show their author's wit, while Shadwell's characters would fully display the stupidity of their author.

      Critical Analysis. Accusing Shadwell for lack of agility and intellect, Dryden here impliedly castigates him for plagiarism. He concludes that as a dramatist, too, he is no more than a great failure. The style is remarkable in using inversion of values for satiric purpose. Once again, the tone conveys solemnity and grandeur, while the actual advice to Shadwell is that he should surpass all others in his stupidity.

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