Mac Flecknoe: Lines. 15-24 - Summary & Analysis

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      Lines. 15-24. Shadwell alone my.....upon the day. These lines have been taken from Dryden's poem, Mac Flecknoe. After realizing that he had grown old and that death was imminent, Flecknoe pondered over the issue of choosing a successor to the throne of Nonsense over which he had ruled so long. He concluded that Shadwell and Shadwell alone could be his heir.

      Fleckone decided in favor of Shadwell, because, of all his sons who were as dull as he, Shadwell resembled him perfectly in body and mind. Shadwell had reached the maximum height of dullness in his childhood. Of all Flecknoe's sons, he was the most confirmed in foolishness and dullness. The other sons suffered from the serious fault of occasionally pretending to speak meaningfully and sensibly. Shadwell, however, never turned aside from the path of stupidity to that of sense. It was just possible that some rays of wisdom might succeed in influencing other sons of Flecknoe to write sense, but such a thing could not happen with Shadwell. Shadwell's mind was engulfed in the utter darkness of dullness, which was comparable to the blackness of a moonless night. The clustering stupdity of his soul, which was comprable to thick rising fogs, shut out all wit and intelligence. These qualities of Shadwell made him worthy of being Flecknoe's successor to the throne of Nonsense.

      Critical Analysis. The metaphor of light and darkness with regard to Shadwell's mind is effectively used for the purpose of satire. We see Dryden's skill in combining dignified words with ludicrous terms to create an inversion of values and, hence, produce laughter.

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