Mac Flecknoe: Lines. 25-28 - Summary & Analysis

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      Lines. 25-28. Besides, his goodly.....supinely reign. These lines have been taken from Dryden's poem Mac Flecknoe. Flecknoe had grown old and was in search of an heir to succeed him to the throne of Nonsense. Of all his many sons, he selected Shadwell, because he was confirmed in stupidity since his childhood and did not allow any sense to influence his mind.

      An added qualification was that Shadwell's fatness was impressive - it was an eye-full. It seemed as if his corpulence was planned to make him fit for the dignified position of Kingship in the realm of Nonsense. His majestic fatness was similar to the huge and heavy oaks, considered to be kings among trees. The oaks shut out the light on the plains and cover it with dark shade. They are idle, sleepy kings, fixed to one place and are considered monarchs though they do not exert themselves to rule. Shadwell, too, was like the oak tree, and is fit to rule over the realm of Nonsense without any effort.

      Critical Analysis. The comparison with the oak tree is effectively satirical. We see Dryden's style of inflating a satirical target in order to deflate it all the more strikingly. Thus the first two lines seem to praise Shadwell, the third line introudces a mocking note with the combination of thoughtless" and "monarch", while the fourth line completes the deflation with "supinely reign." The idea of Shadwell’s effortless ability to rule over the Kingdom of Nonsense is fully conveyed.

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