Macflecknoe Getting rid of Us Softly With His Verse English Literature Essay

John Dryden's mock-heroic MacFlecknoe (1676) ridicules the "True-Blue-Protestant Poet" Thomas Shadwell, who was simply a ex - colleague and later a callous literary rival of Dryden, through what lately seventeenth-century Irish poet, Richard Flecknoe. Actually, during Dryden's period, Flecknoe became a name used synonymously with writing inferior poetry, and Shadwell, who symbolizes "Mac" (the kid of) Flecknoe [MacFlecknoe], as Dryden's satire shows, is another name used to signal the writing of mediocre poetry. Critics find it difficult to indicate a time or an occasion that brought about the discord between Dryden and Shadwell. Some consider Dryden's lampoon of Shadwell as stemming from Shadwell's savage attack on Dryden in his Medal of John Bayes while others claim that political and literary dissimilarities kindled the attacks. For instance, Shadwell was a dedicated Whig, who favored the comedies of humour and realism while Dryden was a keen Tory and preferred the comedies of wit and powerful creativity. On the top, Dryden's satire captures the substance of wit, creativeness, and style through his ingenuity and use of high and low diction. Indeed, MacFlecknoe entertains as it criticizes on several levels. That is first seen in Dryden's important tongue in cheek retort to Shadwell, as Flecknoe's heir, in which MacFlecknoe is crowned ruler of this honor, and second, through Dryden's dire critical response about this is of MacFlecknoe's kingship not only inside a social context but also about its literary potential customers.

The starting remark from the loudspeaker in MacFlecknoe models the comical build to come throughout the verse, yet it also offers an extended alert about the potential issues of art work within the political climate of Dryden's time and those above the horizon: "All human things are at the mercy of decay, / And, when fate summons, monarchs must follow;" (1-2). Decay here is the king of "Nonsense, " Flecknoe, whose kingdom and guideline, marshaled by writing bad poetry, is getting close to its end (6). Furthermore, Flecknoe's seek out the correct heir to govern his monarchy of dullness is available only in the main one who "resembles" his (Flecknoe's) "perfect image" and is "[m]ature in dullness" (14-16), and it is Shadwell who is the prince of Flecknoe's vision - the near future king of second-rate writing who will make the country's eyes water and ears cry since his work and body "stands established completely stupidity" (18).

Nonetheless, Dryden's view of Shadwell, while writing his satire, suggests that Shadwell had been entrenched in his reign of stupidity, as the loudspeaker throughout this poem will not shy away from criticizing Shadwell's own work and offspring individuals such as, Epsom Wall surfaces plus the Virtuoso with Raymond and Trifle respectively. Dryden's mock-epic profile displays gems of irony while he ushers in the "new" bad poet to his throne; he presents stiff commentary about the ever-changing mother nature of literature and art within the fallen London. The Biblical allusions Flecknoe makes further increase Dryden's literary idea that his culture is leaving its literary peak established in Augustan Rome. Actually, the bad poets of the last era, for example, Heywood, Shirley, Dekker, and Ogilby, are merely Old Testament "types" (29) of the real Christ or in Shadwell's circumstance the "last great prophet of tautology" (30) where even Flecknoe's guideline was only a momentary state used as a vehicle "to get ready [MacFlecknoe/Shadwell's] way, " so MacFlecknoe can greet his region and its own collective head with a time of dullness (31).

The coronation location Flecknoe selects to crown MacFlecknoe as king not only represents Dryden's concerns of the political and literary decay his city and population is facing but also exhibits the grime and fecal matter to which Dryden lessens Shadwell: "Martyrs of pies and relics of the bum. / Much Heywood, Shirley, Ogilby there lay down, / But loads of sh ---- almost choked just how" (101-103). It is out of the feces and the piles of shoddy poetry that Flecknoe erects MacFlecknoe's throne in which it is surrounded by "brothel-houses" where "[s]cenes of lewd loves and of polluted joys" fill the roadways and share with the "infant punks" (prostitutes) their tender voices try" (70-77).

The location Flecknoe chooses is Barbican, an old Roman watchtower that surrounds the old London city, and it's been in decay since the surrounding neighborhoods opened their pavements to poor and cheapened varieties of entertainment. Shadwell's approaching reign of second-rate creativity adds to the city's filth and its own panic: "Close to the walls good Augusta bind / (The reasonable Augusta much to worries inclined)" (64-65). The doubts Augusta faces act like Dryden's London: the political turmoil and threats of the Earl of Shaftesbury and the Popish Story, a storyline where Catholics would murder Charles II and place Adam I on the throne; and the theory that Dryden's population is openly embracing the entertainments of decadence and the cheaper literary cultures of the time instead of yearning for the lost literary apex of London's ancient past.

This yearning for the literary superiority of the past is further compounded when Flecknoe crowns MacFlecknoe the reputable ruler of dullness where Shadwell "[swears]. . . . / [t]hat he till death true dullness would maintain" (114-15). Flecknoe further offers his new ruler advice about how exactly to rule his new condition in which the advice comes off as a paternal prep speak to a boy: "My child, progress / Still in new impudence, new ignorance. / Success let others show; learn thou from me" (145-47). The meaning here is for MacFlecknoe to make his imaginary father and past king happy by carrying on the reign of poppycock and dullness throughout the land. In fact, Flecknoe wishes Shadwell not to let "false friends (like Ben Jonson) seduce [his] head to fame, " never to mimic the artwork of Jonson, but to talk about, by connection, Flecknoe's characteristics (171).

As Flecknoe's tedious speech closes, he explains to MacFleckoe to depart poetry and crisis, so he can focus his boredom in anagrams. Resembling one of Shadwell's lifeless personas in Virtuosos (Sir Formal), Flecknoe falls by using a trapdoor that invokes another Biblical allusion of the prophet Elijah whose mantle descends from heaven onto Elisha. Yet here, Flecknoe is portraying Elijah who does not land from the heavens but falls below, triggering his mantle and crown to go up high in mid-air on top of the top of the Elisha-MacFlecknoe; thus, doing the coronation of MacFlecknoe/Shadwell as the real king of tasteless skill. The resolution at the end of Dryden's satire, when there is one, is that Dryden finally possessed his chance to mock and present some payback to Shadwell's savage problems which were made on him. It is uncertain whether this mock-heroic poem concluded the struggle of insults between both poets.

However, the major resolution rests in Dryden's attitude towards the nature of art and its own devote the contemporary society of his day. The satire is humorous throughout, and Dryden never loses his poise while taking shots at the so-called, at least in his mind, ruler of dullness, Thomas Shadwell. Still, Dryden's major conflict is embedded through his wit and irony, and I believe Dryden views his current society's tastes in art work and books to be inferior compared to what the literary landscape of London once was. In addition, the crowning of Shadwell/MacFlecknoe as London's new poet laureate, a subject stripped from Dryden and paid to Shadwell (out of politics/religious rather than creative reasons) further enforced in Dryden's brain that London was dropping deeper into problem. London and its own modern culture, therefore, is crumbling before Dryden's eyes and his pen may offer advice and heed off warnings for only those happy to read and listen: one cannot restore society's worth in superior art and literature by one's personal. Unfortunately, it requires many individuals, and even then it depends on the individual (as an musician), as is the case with Jonathan Swift.

Swift's Description of London's Society

Jonathan Swift's metropolitan eclogue A Explanation of the Day was first published in his friend's - Richard Steele - literary paper, the Tatler, on April 30, 1709. At that time Swift released his poem, there is moderate political and spiritual turbulence, as far as visitors can view from his poem. Still, like Dryden's MacFlecknoe, some thirty-years before, Swift's Description is a satiric verse that will not deride a particular person, as Dryden's treatment of Thomas Shadwell will, but his poem does mocks person, mundane character types within London's population. Indeed, unlike Dryden's satire, Swift's satire offers his readers displays of pictorial impressions of London culture without uttering a single subjective comment; instead, Swift reveals some objective snapshots for his audience to consider when they arrive at the conclusions that Swift's picture present to them. Swift, however, does indeed display parodies of traditional Augustan books including the "Hackney -Mentor" and the female servant "Betty, " where the latter symbolizes the dawn goddess - Aurora - and the previous represents the chariot of the sun (1, 3).

The setting of his urban satire is at dawn, and the snapshots he provides include different individuals throughout London's population. In fact, the first picture catches the maid, Betty, in an immoral act that suggests some sexual activity has happened the previous evening between her and her grasp: ". . . from her Master's Bed possessed flown, / And softly stole to discompose her own" (3-4). As though this image of the guilty servant weren't bad enough, Swift has Betty leap up with the break of dawn to dishevel the bed sheets of her own bed in an effort to cloak her sin. This image and its resulting meaning is exactly what Swift wishes to impose upon the memory of his visitors. Moreover, another snapshots are concurrently considered, perhaps, from a rotating camera. The master's "Prentice, " his other housecleaner "Moll, " and the "Youth" are shown either start an activity or, in the apprentice's circumstance, creating more work to do since his tries to clean the ground are feebly done. Further snapshots display the cries of the "Chimney-sweep, " who have been young boys subjected to London's horrific realities of working long, unsafe time and executing horrendous obligations at a age.

Swift's camera is not restricted to the indoors, the insides of London's modern culture; his camera requires us over a photographic voyage outside to the London streets he and his audience could have known. "Duns, " who have been debt collectors, wait around patiently outside an aristocrat's house to receive payment (12). It is at this point, where Swift's picture of London's society becomes bleak since the low and middle-class have to start their responsibilities much sooner than those of lazy luxury do if they're to endure in this population. This picture becomes clearer from the description of "Brick-dust Moll" whose screams echo the London streets (14). Now, the image of Swift's second Moll is not the same person mentioned before. "Brick-dust Moll" is not really a housecleaner in the general sense, but she is a working maid of the roadways, a prostitute, of London's underworld red-light district. Even the "Turn-key" and the so-called "watchful Bailiffs, " whose shifts end as the day breaks, are morally corrupted because they allow criminals to roam the filthy avenues under a moonlit sky and then split their taken prizes with those in control once the morning hours sun rises (15, 17).

Although Swift had written this satire, it is objectively Swift-less. Swift's panoramic view is no doubt his, yet his satire is tame in comparison to Dryden's and Pope's, as we will have. The snapshots he takes of London's fallen society are what readers see from Swift's lens; nevertheless, Swift does not pass common sense on the fallen even though he thinks London's population needed a radical recovery. He allows his visitors to make their own judgments on what the impressions in the text create in your brain; something Alexander Pope will with swiftness.

Invasion of Human Vanity

Alexander Pope's mock-heroic The Rape of the Lock (1717) requires a historical incident observed by his good friend, John Caryll, and immortalizes the trifles behind such an event in his verse. The occurrence Caryll stimulates Pope to write about was a family feud that stemmed when Lord Robert Petre, who symbolizes the Baron in Pope's verse, snipped off an extended curl of Arabella Fermor's locks, which symbolizes Pope's heroine Belinda. Moreover, Pope's first aim for writing his satire was to bring the two feuding families back along through the satirical and trivial occurrences that were based on true to life happenings. Now, it isn't clear whether Pope was successful in mending the two families back with laughter; however, a stern commentary about London's eighteenth-century world bubbles to the surface with each passing canto.

With Pope's adaptations of traditional epic conventions such as the invocation and commitment of the Muse, John Caryll (canto I), the protective gods, the Sylphs and sexual allegory (canto II), the video games and feast that symbolizes epic fights (canto III), the plunge to the underworld of Spleen (canto IV), and lastly the heroic challenge of the sexes (canto V), he brings to light, by various comparisons, society's desire for trivial principles rather than its morally significant ones. What floors as Pope's major conflict throughout his satirical verse is never to be taken softly, but to be reviewed with a serious eye, and that is his view of the vanities within London's society. Actually, Pope assumed his current modern culture to be falling deeper into its morally corrupted grave since most residents, especially women, upheld their physical appearance above everything else, and men were disorderly beasts who desired sexual triumphs as morally reputable feats. This idea is magnified once the Baron snips an individual lock from Belinda's lovely head: "The reaching factors the sacred wild hair dissever / From your fair head, permanently, and permanently!" (III. 153-54).

It is after the poems climax that trivial individual vanity, especially as it concerns Belinda's physical beauty and general population reputation, overshadows significant moral ideals. In fact, Belinda's good friend, Thalestris, instructs her to take into account the public effects of the Baron not only slicing her lock but also showcasing it as a prize that not only disfigures her outward appearance but also her general public honor: "Methinks already I your tears study, / Already listen to the horrid things they state, . . . . / And all your honour in whisper lost!" (IV. 107-10). Furthermore, Belinda brings that her own vanity in the general public eyes is more important than her moral chastity in the face of religious beliefs: "Oh hadst thou, cruel! been content to seize / Hairs less around the corner" (IV. 175-76). Belinda's allusion to her "[h]airs less in sight" shows that she'd much rather have the Baron see or snip her pubic scalp than the missing beautiful lock that her general public can view. Quite simply, Belinda would prefer to associated risk a violation to her chastity than breach her outward appearance, which is here where Pope views the backward moral ideals of London population.

Pope's concept is further long in the ultimate canto and generally is devote the mouth of Clarissa, whose cameo appearance in canto III primarily helped the Baron cut Belinda's curl because it was she who handed him the scissors to do the deed, yet visitors have difficulty acknowledging the concept because of her early on action: "But since, alas! frail beauty must decay, / Curled or uncurled, since locks will turn to grey;. . . . / What remains but well our power to use, / And keep good-humour still whate'er we lose? (V. 25-30).

Clarissa's talk, here, is perhaps Pope's so-called moral of his mock-epic, where human vanity is ever-so fleeting with the hands of time with the trivial and the mundane things, just like a lock of hair. For, in the long run, nature will offer Belinda, as it did Arabella, with a healthy curl. Petty issues shouldn't over lengthened their pleasant within society since the meaning that Dryden, Swift, and Pope attempted to reveal on the visitors, respectively, was that London's culture, their population, should take a long look into the mirror and restore, when possible, the moral principles traditionally organised in Augustan Rome, the principles once kept by their city that were now only found spilling forth from their pens and crying out on their internet pages.

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