Mock-heroic poetry employs a satirical devise in which the great ad the silly are brought together and compared. He wrote the prologue for Shadwell’s play Epsom Wells. All Nature is but art, unknown to thee; All chance, direction, which thou canst not see; All discord, harmony not understood; All partial evil, universal good: Dryden and Shadwell had once treated each other amicably but became enemies because of their differing views on the following: Dryden then describes the place chosen by Flecknoe for Shadwell’s throne.

Dryden lampoons Shadwell mercilessly, although he avoids sarcasm and harangue. The proud father of Shadwell hopes that his son’s domain will one day encompass all the earth and that he will produce new dull plays to delight the dimwitted. Shadwell accedes to the crown as Mac Flecknoe. He defends the Elizabethan greats, like Shakespeare, on the grounds that their failure to observe this or that neoclassical rule for writing resulted in a greater work, one more conforming to real Nature than to secondary models derived from literature. The king of the gods then persuades her to stop her scheming against Psyche. Nearby is a nursery for children who will be trained as actors.

Intelligence; creativity; writing ability. Augusta is the feminine form of the Latin Augustusthe name of one of ancient Rome’s most powerful leaders, Augustus Caesar. Verse satire “Mac”essag or “public” verse “Annus”and prose essay. Character in Shadwell’s The Virtuoso Book dealers unable to sell the works of Shadwell.

The term mock – heroic implies a travesty of the literary style and conventions of an epic in order to bring about a ridiculous mockery of some period or object whom or which the poet disapproves and wishes to satirize. In Dryden’s poem, buskins symbolizes stage tragedies.

John Dryden, “MacFlecnoe,” “Annus Mirabilus,” Criticism

His final contribution to Chaucer scholarship is his observation that readers of the whole of Mc Tales tend to fall into a bemused meditation on the richness of the human condition, rather than seeing any thesis or dramatic concentration one might follow to achieve a comic or tragic catharsis, leading him to exclaim “here is God’s plenty” When he was a boy, he was taught to hate Rome.


Especially consider what Aphra Behn will show the English twenty years later in Oroonoko.

Great poets like Fletcher and Jonson cannot enter there. From its old ruins brothel-houses rise, Like the Odysseyit starts in a kind of Olympus, only it’s the realm of Nonsense, until recently ruled by Flecknoe. His critique of Bad poets begins with the Metaphysicals, which he defines by their most notorious example, Fleckone Cleveland. He was the first reader of Chaucer took into account the possibility of historical changes in poetic technique, and in that sense is the ancestor of all Chaucerian scholars, for which, let us honor him, though he was deaf to the “great vowel shift.

mac flecknoe critical essay

Dryden mocks Shadwell by writing that his owls can be compared to the vultures of Romulus. Angry that she has disobeyed his instructions, he leaves her. West conducted an extensive research and experiments on the problems of teaching English as a foreign language in India.

Summary Mac Flecknoe is the finest short satirical poem in which Dryden has treated Rcitical Sahdwell with humorous contempt.

mac flecknoe critical essay

Dryden performed his task of satirizing the literary pretensions of Thomas Shadwell with the utmost efficacy using the mock – heroic technique stylistically elevating his character and then deflating him to the status of a pigmy. Flecknoe crowns Shadwell and bursts into prophecy.

Does this suggest any dangers for the coming “Age of Enlightenment,” as the Eighteenth Century sometimes essat called?


Flecknoe’s name has already become a synonym for a fool. Building or group of buildings. For inspiration, Shadwell should imitate his esxay rather than writers of wit, like Ben Jonson. For an overview of how much of the city burned and the cultural significance of what was lost, see the Great Fire of London Map Chaucer is held up as the English Homer or Virgil, a founder of the national literature, though his rhyming is not commended also see Sidney.

Poppies contain seeds flecinoe which opium, an addictive drug, is made. Verses; lines of verse.

Mac Flecknoe: a Study Guide

The poem opens with Richard Flecknoe’s decision to abdicate the throne and to find a worthy successor. The Flecknoe – Shadwell relationship is an ironical prosody of relationship between John Baptist and Christ.

At the time of consecration twelve owls fly over the spot.

mac flecknoe critical essay

The poem is set in London, referred to in the poem as Augusta. While on a sea voyage, he learned that sailors on the ship planned to rob and kill him.

Mac Flecknoe by John Dryden: Summary

Back to EnglishSyllabus View. This later becomes rationalized by the “Deists” like Leibniz, who argued that God’s role fledknoe the universe was reasonably demonstrable though by circular logic and that, therefore, this was the best of all possible worlds since God, the omnipotent, would have done better if He could. Instead, he need only trust his natural instincts, and dullness will pour forth.