The first line of the poem creates the illusion of its being an epic poem about a historical hero. The next lines talk about Mac Flecknoe , a monarch who instead of ruling an empire, rules over the realm of Nonsense. The king is old and thus must choose a successor to his throne. Dryden wonders whether the king will chose a poet who has talent and wit or if he will choose someone like him, a man with no literary talent. Flecknoe decides upon his son Shadwell, a man with no talent and who is tedious, stupid, and always at war with wit.
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Mac Flecknoe. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. See Article History. Britannica Quiz. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Another of his finest inventions, Mac Flecknoe written mids, published , explores, through agile mock-heroic fantasy, the possibility of a world in which the profession of humane letters has been thoroughly debased through the unworthiness of its practitioners.
The s also saw the publication of two major religious poems: Religio… …. Satire , artistic form, chiefly literary and dramatic, in which human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, parody, caricature, or other methods, sometimes with an intent to inspire social reform. Satire is a protean term. Together with its derivatives,…. History at your fingertips.
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More About. Poetry Foundation - "Mac Flecknoe".
Mac Flecknoe by John Dryden: Summary
Genre: Verse satire "Mac" , commendatory or "public" verse "Annus" , and prose essay. Form: rhyming couplets "heroic couplets," though "Mac" is " mock epic verse" , four-line stanzas of rough iambic pentameter rhyming abab "Annus" , and prose. For a modern parody of the "mock heroic" style, see "Al Pope"'s Ratiad Other characters represent contemporary or recent poets Heywood, Decker, Shirley, Fletcher , or they are allegorical, part of the epic "machinery of the gods" by which Dryden mocks Shadwell, making him inherit the throne of Nonsense. Summary: Click here for some small-group discussion guides on each of these works. Like the Odyssey , it starts in a kind of Olympus, only it's the realm of Nonsense, until recently ruled by Flecknoe.