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Classical Literature and Mac Flecknoe

Page history last edited by Emine Şeyda 15 years, 1 month ago


Classical Literature and Mac Flecknoe


Mac Flecknoe was written after the English Restoration. It was written about 1678, but published in 1682.


Satire: Satire is a literary genre or form. It was one of the most typical products of the Restoration Period. John Dryden used satire in his poem ‘Mac Flecknoe’. There is a contrast between the form and content in the poem. The form is heroic, but content is not; for example Richard Flecknoe is not a successful poet, he is king of nonsense. ‘Mock’ means to ridicule, Mac Flecknoe is a heroic poem. There are heroic couplets:


But Shad__ never deviates into sense.

Some beams of Wit on other souls may fall,

Strike through and make a lucid interval;

But Shad__’ genuine night admits no ray,

His rising Fogs prevail upon the Day:

Besides his goodly Fabrick-fills the eye,

And seems design’d for thoughtless Majesty:

Thoughtless as Monarch Oakes, that shade the plain,

And, spread in solemn state, supinely reign (There is metaphor in this line)


Satire is usually meant to be funny , but it was used in Restoration Period as an attack against enemies.  Dryden used it against Thomas Shadwell.  Mac Flecknoe is a personal satire.


Writers use satire using the weapon of wit.


Wit: Wit is the quality of the mind; the mental faculties, the intellects. Writers make laugh people, but do this cleverly. Before 18th century, satire was a necessity for writers to criticize. There is no imagination in Mac Flecknoe. He uses wit.


Style: Style is clear. There is not a lot of metaphor;e.g, in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, there are many metaphors, but in Mac Flecknoe there is not so much.


Also, style is elevated. Dryden uses grand style.


Techniques used: irony, mock epic.

Mock heroic: low content with high style.

Tone: sharper in satire, gentle in humor.


England and Augustan Rome: Writers were influenced by the writings of the classical poets Virgil, and John Dryden was influenced, too. In this age, there was a flashback to Classical Age in literature. There is analogy between post-civil war England and Augustan Rome(27BC-14AD)


Some of Neo-Classic Age’s features:

It is satiric.

Restoration Age is called ‘Heroic Couplets Age’

Dryden uses heroic form of Classical Age , so there is a flashback to the Classical Age.

Literature in 1660: a cynical age.

In the Restoration Period writers didn't have an interest in imagination.


On this page, I tried expressing how John Dryden used features of classical literature in his poem 'Mac Flecknoe'.

                                                                                                                                                                           Emine Şeyda SÜME     070120021

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