Mac Flecknoe: Lines. 74-78 - Summary & Analysis

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      Lines. 74-78. Near these.....gods defy. These lines describe the surroundings of the site chosen for Shadwell's coronation. 'A Nursery' refers to a threatre established by letters patent from Charles II in 1664, where actors and actresses could acquire training. Here, the girls and boys learned how to fill the stage with tears and laughter. Prostitutes of tender age practiced their parts in soft voices; would-be or could-be heroes received instructions for their roles. One of them would, one day act as Maximins, the hero of Dryden's drama Tyrannic Love and defy the gods in tragic scenes.

      Critical Analysis. These lines are satirical not only with reference to Shadwell and the place chosen for his coronation. Here, Dryden satirizes the training centers for young actors and actresses also. The range of Dryden's satire is not circumscribed to Shadwell and his works only; it includes the artistic standards and tastes of the day. The dignified description of the place is in true "heroic" tradition. The mock-heroic element enters because the "high" style of description is applied to the scenes of contemporary "low" life.

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