The Prince Of Dullness Poem Analysis

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Register to read the introduction… The Prince of Dullness is also ‘prophet’. Flecknoe and Shadwell appear in roles as prophets and princes. Such lines of the poem carry biblical overtones. Flecknoe is to Shadwell what John the Baptist was to Christ. The biblical image suggesting that Flecknoe is God and his son Shadwell is Christ is, of course, deliberately kept in mind. What is made prominent here is the metaphor of a king and his successor.
The element of art is also relevant in the poem. Art is very important as the subject of the poem and touches Shadwell where it most humiliates his pretensions to music and literature. Shadwell is the “new Arion” and his name echoes from no less than quarter called “Pissing Alley”. The setting of Shadwell’s coronation and the consecration are comically presented. Shadwell is called ‘young Ascanius’. Like Hannibal, Shadwell swears, Dryden lets him down with images of deflation.
In Flecknoe’s final advice to Shadwell, the latter is related to old fashioned poetasters. He is also contrasted with Ben Johnson and Etherege. Dryden’s aim is twofold – to condemn poetasters and to uphold the values represented by Ben Jonson and Etherege. Since Shadwell professed to be a follower of Ben Jonson without understanding his art, Dryden mocks him: Nor let thy mountain belly make

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