Mac Flecknoe: Lines. 211-217 - Summary & Analysis

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      Lines. 211-217. He said but.....his father’s art. In these last lines of the poem, Mac Flecknoe, Dryden says that while Flecknoe was advising his son, he disappeared all of a sudden. He was dragged below through a trap-door even before he had concluded his speech The trap door had been laid by Bruce and Longville. This is an allusion to a scene in Shadwell’s play The Virtuoso. Dryden uses the very materials of his rival poet to ridicule him and his literary father. With this master stroke, Dryden puts an end to Flecknoe's speech. Flecknoe went down; his robe of Norwich Drugget was wafted up ward by a wind blown from below. This mantle fell upon Shadwell as the mantle of Elijah, the Jewish prophet, fell on his son Elisha, when Elijah was taken to heaven. Shadwell became a successor to Flecknoe in the realm of Nonsense absolute.

      Critical Analysis. Remarkable comic use is made of the Biblical allusion, Elijah’s mantle. Elisha was granted all his father's powers along with the mantle; Shadwell gets double the amount of his father’s art i.e” double his share of dullness. The anti-climatic ending is superb- Elisha's mantle fell from above when Elijah went up to heaven, while Flecknoe's mantle comes from below. Allegorical action is well used for comic purposes.

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