Shadwell By John Dryden
About the Poet
➡ Born in Aldwinkle, Northamptonshire, England, the eldest of fourteen children.
➡ Entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1650.
➡ Heroic Stanzas (1658), written on the death of Oliver Cromwell is his first important work.
➡Became Poet Laureate and Royal Historiographer.
➡ The poet states the reality of life that all human beings are mortal.
➡ Death comes to everybody and when it comes, even kings have to obey it.
➡ Mac Flecknoe, the emperor of the realm of Nonsense also realized this hard fact.
➡ Flecknoe, the king, was considered famous in his empire in the matter of prose and poetry.
➡ The king was ruling his empire successfully and was blessed with a number of children.
➡ After growing old, he wanted to choose his successor.
➡The king thought about his sons as his successor, who could be the greatest enemy of wisdom and wage a never-ending war against it.
➡ The king chooses Shadwell, his son, as his successor who resembles him most in stupidity and foolishness.
➡ Other Children may show some rays of wisdom but Shadwell stands confirmed in foolishness.
➡ Flecknoe compares Shadwell with his other sons and says that they have a little bit of commonsense but Shadwell’s stupidity is like a dense fog where day-light cannot pass through it.
➡ Flecknoe says that Shadwell’s fat body will attract others’ attention and appears that it has been designed like this to rule the empire.
➡ Flecknoe compares Shadwell’s fat body to a huge Oak tree which spreads over a vast area and casts its shadow on the ground. In the same way, Shadwell is a useless person and will rule the realm of Nonsense.
➡ Other Foolish writers like Heywood and Shirley were merely the shadows of Shadwell.