Summary of ''The poet shadwell'' and critical appreciation?? I really need help with this. If anyone can help, it would be much appreciated. Summary should be brief please, and the critical appreciation 2 paragraphs maximum. My exams are coming--so if you can make it fast, please!!

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Dryden's "Mac Flecknoe" is a satire on Dryden's contemporary and rival, the poet Thomas Shadwell. It is subtitled "A satire upon the True-Blue Protestant Poet, T.S."

The poem is a prototype of the mock-heroic verse of the neoclassical age in English literature. Dryden imitates the stylistic tone and...

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Dryden's "Mac Flecknoe" is a satire on Dryden's contemporary and rival, the poet Thomas Shadwell. It is subtitled "A satire upon the True-Blue Protestant Poet, T.S."

The poem is a prototype of the mock-heroic verse of the neoclassical age in English literature. Dryden imitates the stylistic tone and language of the epic poetry of antiquity, such as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and Virgil's Aeneid, but applies it to subjects which are the opposite of the heroic characters and actions in those works. In "Mac Flecknoe," instead of writing about heroes such as Achilles or Odysseus, Dryden creates a scenario in which he describes bad poets—first, the king of bad poetry, Mac Flecknoe himself, and then the man Mac Flecknoe chooses to be, his successor, the equally incompetent Thomas Shadwell. Mock-heroic technique emphasizes the dullness, insignificance, or mediocrity of its subjects by ironically using language that's totally inappropriate to them. One would think, for instance, from the opening couplet that Dryden is writing about great people or events:

All human things are subject to decay,

And when Fate summons, monarchs must obey.

But instead of actual monarchs or heroes, Dryden goes on to describe incompetent writers. The poem is filled with topical allusions to the literary world of Restoration England, much of which the modern reader must research in order to fully appreciate Dryden's satire. The actual Shadwell had become Poet Laureate, succeeding Dryden, who had converted to Roman Catholicism and thus become an outsider in English society. Thus the subtext of his satire is a criticism not only of Shadwell himself but, by extension, the establishment, the English Restoration society of which Dryden had previously been an insider and a favorite.

In my view "Mack Flecknoe," and Dryden's poetry in general, is significant more because of how influential it was than because of its inherent greatness. Alexander Pope, usually considered the most important poet of the neoclassical (also called the Augustan) period, idolized Dryden and was enormously influenced by him, especially in his own satiric works such as the Dunciad. The heroic couplets (rhymed iambic pentameter) used by Dryden became the standard for English poetry over the following century, as did the imitation of the poetry of ancient Greece and Rome and the mock-heroic style. "Mac Flecknoe" is one of the first poems exemplifying these elements that characterize the neoclassical age in English literature.

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Your question was confusing because the topic was shown as "The Last Ride Together," which is by Robert Browning. I have changed the topic to the correct one and edited the questions. You can find lots of information about Shadwell and "Mac Flecknoe" by referring to the eNotes Study Guide and other resources. I am only trying to help out with this question because you say you are under time pressure. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about "Mac Flecknoe" to offer a critical assessment--but you will find lots of questions and answers on the work in the eNotes reference material now that you have the correct title. Good luck!

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