Mac Flecknoe study guide contains a biography of John Dryden, literature essays , quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis of. Mac Flecknoe Or a Satire Upon the True-Blue-Protestant Poet T. S.. A Poem by John Dryden () A Study Guide. Complete summary of John Dryden’s Mac Flecknoe. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Mac Flecknoe.

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Such a work uses the elevated style of the classical epic poem such as The Iliad to satirize human follies. A mock epic pretends that a person, a place, a thing, or an idea is extraordinary when — in nohn author’s view — it is actually insignificant and trivial.

For example, a mock epic about an inconsequential U. In writing “Mac Flecknoe,” John Dryden imitated not only the characteristics of Homer’s epics but also those of later writers such as VirgilDanteand Milton. Jacob Tonson published an edited and authorized copy dryen the poem in London in as part of a Dryden collection entitled Miscellany Poems. John Dryden wrote “Mac Flecknoe” to satirize another English writer, Thomas Shadwellauthor of eighteen plays and a small body of poetry.

Dryden and Shadwell had once treated each other amicably but became enemies because of their differing views on the following: Richard Flecknoe was an English dramatist and poet whose writing was flecjnoe by poet Andrew Marvellas well as Dryden.

When the time comes for the aging king to select his successor, he chooses Thomas Shadwell. In the poem, Dryden casts Shadwell as the son of the King of Nonsense.

Shadwell accedes to the crown as Mac Flecknoe. Mac means son of. The poem is set in London, referred to in the poem as Augusta. Augusta is the feminine form of the Latin Augustusthe name of one of ancient Rome’s most powerful leaders, Augustus Caesar. As part of his mockery of Shadwell, Dryden chose the high-sounding Augusta as the name for the city Shadwell is to rule as King of Nonsense.

Flecknoe assumed the throne as King of Nonsense when he was young. In this respect, he was not unlike Augustus Caesar, who became emperor of Rome when he, too, was a young.

And, like Caesar, Flecknoe rules for many years. So Shadwell inherits the throne mxc Mac Flecknoe son of Flecknoe. Shadwell is so witless and, therefore, perfect for the throne that he does no more thinking than mzc monarch oak shading a plain.

There are others with similar virtues, such as Heywood and Shirley. However, other writers are no match for Shadwell—not even his father. Nitwit writers who came before Shadwell occasionally displayed the dimmest glimmer of intelligence. But Shadwell never wrote jobn line that made any sense. Nearby is a nursery for children who will flfcknoe trained as actors.

The plays of Fletcher and Jonson allusion to writers John Fletcher and Ben Jonson are never staged in this place, but the dull and shoddy joh of Shadwell find a ready audience here.


On his head is a wreath of poppies the source of opium, an addictive fleckmoe which Shadwell used.

Then from his left hand fly twelve owls, a happening that reminds observers of Romulus, legendary co-founder of ancient Fecknoe.

Twelve vultures heralded his reign. 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. Moreover, he says, let other writers imitate his son.

The only difference between Shadwell and them, he says, will be their names.

Mac Flecknoe by John Dryden: Summary

Instead, he need only trust his natural instincts, and dullness will pour forth. For inspiration, Shadwell should imitate his father rather than writers of wit, like Ben Jonson. And though Shadwell may have passionate ideas in his head, Flecknoe says, they will die whenever he manifests them with his pen. Perhaps, he says, Shadwell should quit writing plays and devote himself to acrostics.

Or perhaps he should write songs and sing them to the accompaniment of a lute. While still speaking Flecknoe disappears through a trap door. A wind carries his royal robe upward, and it falls upon the shoulders of the new King of Nonsense—Shadwell, Mac Flecknoe. This Flecknoe 1 found, who, like Augustus, young Was call’d to empire2 and had govern’d long: The rest to some faint meaning make pretence, But Shadwell never deviates into sense.

Thoughtless as monarch oaks, that shade the plain, And, spread in solemn state, supinely reign. Here stopt the good old sire; and wept for joy From its old ruins brothel-houses rise, To whom true dullness should some Psyches owe, From dusty shops neglected authors come, His brows thick fogs, instead of glories, grace, In his sinister 56 hand, instead of ball So Romulus, ’tis sung, by Tiber’s brook, This is that boasted bias of thy mind76 By which one way, to dullness, ’tis inclin’d, Nor let thy mountain belly make pretence Of likeness ; 77 thine’s a tympany 78 of sense.

There thou may’st wings display and altars raise84 And torture one poor word ten thousand ways. See Backgroundabove. The person who would succeed as king. Intelligence; creativity; writing ability. Lack of brilliance; stupidity.

John HeywoodEnglish author of interludes, which were humorous, witty, or moralistic dialogues recited on a stage before or after a play or during an intermission. Heywood was a pioneer in turning the abstractions of morality plays into real characters, as in The Mery Play betwene Johan Johan the Husbande, Tyb the Wyfe, and Syr Johan the Preestprinted in James Shirleya minor English playwright.

Seat of Norfolk County in eastern England. Woolen or partly woolen fabric used to make clothing. Formerly; at one time; at an earlier time.

A phrase that appears in a Shadwell play entitled The Virtuoso. Legendary poet and musician of ancient Greece. While on a sea voyage, he learned that sailors on the ship planned to rob and kill him. Resigned to his fate, he sang a song to the accompaniment of his lyre, then jumped overboard. But a dolphin enthralled with his music saved him and carried him to Corinth, Greece. In Dryden’s time, any of several London streets where people urinated. Food waste thrown into the river.


Hand used to beat out the rhythms of verse in the same way that one would beat thresh grain from husks. In versification, a metric measure such as an iamb or a trochee. Joh libretto written by Shadwell. The story is fleckneo on the ancient myth of Drydenn and Psyche, which is as follows. Psyche is a young woman so beautiful that the goddess of love, Venus, becomes jealous. She sends her son, Cupid, to flecnoe to use one of his arrows to make her fall in love with a horribly ugly man. Cupid, invisible to human eyes, enters her chamber while she is sleeping.

When she awakens, he accidentally pricks his skin instead of hers, causing him to fall in love with her. He then houses her in a palace as his wife but sleeps with her only in the darkness of night. He tells her she must never light a candle, for he does not wish to reveal his identity right away.

Later, her sisters give her bad advice. After telling her that her mystery man is really a serpent, they advise her to light a lamp while he is sleeping, then kill him with a knife. After lighting the lamp, she sees Cupid for the first time and accidentally scratches herself with one of his arrows.

Falling madly in love with him, she kisses him. Angry that she has disobeyed his instructions, he leaves her. While searching for him, she encounters Ceres, the goddess of agriculture and fertility. The great deity tells Psyche that she has no chance of finding Cupid unless she petitions Venus, the goddess who sent him to Psyche in the first place. When Psyche enters a temple dedicated to Venus, the goddess gives her a series of seemingly impossible tasks to perform.

But with the help of those who pity her—including a river god—she achieves success.

Mac Flecknoe – Wikipedia

Meanwhile, Cupid can no longer endure separation from his beloved and asks Jupiter for help. The king of the gods then persuades her to stop her scheming against Psyche.

He also nac Mercury to earth to bring Psyche to the abode of the gods. There, Jupiter gives her the food of the gods, making her immortal, and pronounces Cupid and her eternally tied by the bonds of marriage.

Court musician and singer. Fictional name for London. The word august uh GUST means to inspire reverence and awe. Dryden uses the name here to support the poem as a mock epic.

London was fearful because Catholics were accused falsely of plotting to murder the King of England.

Defensive wall on Aldersgate Street in London. A that means was called.

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