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Dryden himself describes Mac Flecknoe as a varronian satire in his essay "Discourse on Satire" and Varro is described as "studious of laughter....his business was more to divert his reader than to teach him". Thus Dryden intended this work as a satire. The source of the comic in it is what is evidently ridiculous and to be rejected.
As Farley Hills observes Dryden does not deal with it ethically bad but what is aesthetically bad, ugly and unpleasant. In Mac Flecknoe, his aim was to delight and not to instruct. It is totally about pleasure and the lack of it. The idea of pleasure is used in two ways. It is both a demostration of Dryden's ability as a poet to give pleasure and of Mac Flecknoe's (Shadewell's) total failure in the part of giving pleasure. The primary contrast is between poetic wit and poetic pleasure. Shadewell is "Born for a scourage of wit and flayle of senses" and Flrcknoe's blessing to his Don is 'be thou dull'.
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