Mac Flecknoe: Lines. 87-93 - Summary & Analysis

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      Lines. 87-93. For ancient Dekker.....tribes of Bruce. In these lines from Mac Flecknoe, Dryden elaborats on the site chosen for the coronation of Shadwell as the king of Nonsense absolute. The site is appropriately in the low and vulgar quarters of London, amidst broken down walls and beside a theatre of dubious merit. The throne is set up here for Dekker, an Elizabethan comic dramatist, who had foretold long ago that a great emperor would one day reign there as a king of the realm of Nonsense. He would be a born enemy of wit and would punish all men of sense. He would produce plays like The Miser, The Humorists and Psyche with dull and stupid characters like Raymond and Bruce.

      Critical Analysis. The passage is a criticism of Shadwell's works. Dryden makes use of his rival's works in ridiculing him. Now, the personal element in satire is illustrated in the passage. Shadwell had attacked Dryden; hence Dryden dubs him as a 'scourge of wit and flail of sense", implying thereby that Shadwell had attacked a man-of sense. The personal satire, however, widens into general satire, for Shadwell is a type of bad writer. Dryden attacks literary stupidity in general, through the particular means of Shadwell. The style illustrates Dryden's skill for combining the dignified with the ludicrous, and evoking laughter. Words like "ancient", "prophesied" and "mighty" with their sound of ringing dignity are used in conjunction with ludicrous terms such as "scourage of wit", "true dullness" and "flail of sense."

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