Mac Flecknoe: Lines. 29-34 - Summary & Analysis

Also Read

      Lines. 29-34. Heywood and Shirley.....greater name. In these lines Dryden tells us about Heywood, Shirley and Flecknoe and allots Mac Flecknoe the highest place in the domain of dull writing. James Shirley and Thomas Heywood, two Elizabethan dramatists, had their measure of dullness. Flecknoe was a master of dull writing and stood on an equal footing with Shirley and Heywood. Flecknoe calls himself a dunce and this refers to Duns Scotus whose name became a by-word for ignorance when the school to which he belonged fell into contempt. But these great masters were mere anticipations and they just announced the glorious advent of Mac Flecknoe. They prepared the mind of the readers before hand so that when the time came, they might be in a position to appreciate the work of greater stupidity written by Shadwell.

      Critical Analysis. Dryden's satirical hits have some amount of exaggeration. To do away with Heywood and Shirley in a single stroke and to mark Shadwell as the 'last great prophet of tautology', is not fully justified. However, the pleasantness of the mode enlivens the satire. Norwich Druggest refers to a coarse woolen cloth worn by Flecknoe. The style once again uses apparent praise in order to deflate the victim. The tone of the words indicates appreciation for Shadwell, who is the greatest of them all. But when we ask "great in what?" the sting comes in the answer: "Greatest in tautology and dullness."

Previous Post Next Post