Mac Flecknoe, Corrosion of an Heir College
In Dryden’s Mac Flecknoe, dullness is the defining trait of the mock epic’s “hero”, and decay is employed as a theme and a weapon within the poem, underlined mostly as the decay of wit as the speaker dangles his victim and his reputation from his rhetorical noose. As a mock epic, the poem demonstrates the themes and motifs of an epic ballad – with an entwining of satire and persecution for the subject – in this case, Thomas Shadwell. The function of the poem itself is an attack on the dullness that is synonymous with the decay of intelligent humor and lack of appreciation for wit by Shadwell, an argument made possible by Dryden’s persuasive satirical aphorism that, in truth, is little more than humorous, belittling, literary propaganda.
Before Mac Flecknoe: A Satyr upon the Trew-Blue-Protestant Poet T.S. was written or published, John Dryden and Thomas Shadwell were guilty of what is likely a prolonged series of disagreements ending in a quarrel which blossomed into a heated mock epic that wasn’t published until several years after it was written. The two have been known to disagree over an array of subjects including (but hardly limited to) their opinions on the genius of Ben Jonson, their interpretations of humor, comedy, and...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 861 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6554 literature essays, 1778 sample college application essays, 269 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in