Mac Flecknoe: Lines. 79-84 - Summary & Analysis

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      Lines. 79-84. Great Fletcher.....Words. These lines refer to the site of coronation chosen for Shadwell in Dryden's Mac Flecknoe. A theatre stood near the site. In the theatre where the young actors and actresses were trained, the great tragedies or comedies had no place. Buskins or socks never appeared on stage. Buskins refer to tragedy, and socks to comedy. The comedies or tragedies of distinguished dramatists like John Flectcher or Ben Jonson were never attempted. Since great or good art was not appreciated, cheap and wretched interludes and mere puns got a fitting welcome. Clowns like Simkin and bad writers like Panton delighted the audience. The people who gathered to see the plays were no better. They, too, found delight in rotten stuff and applauded it.

      Critical Analysis. In these lines from Mac Flecknoe, Dryden is not merely satirizing Shadwell, but is also criticizing contemporary deterioration in artistic tastes and standards. Basically, the scene of the theatre in the low and vulgar parts of London, forms a setting for the coronation of Shadwell, who is the type of a third-rate writer. At the same time, the satire is widened to include the prevailing literary values.

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