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BEGC-107: British Poetry and Drama: 17th & 18th Centuries

BEGC-107: British Poetry and Drama: 17th & 18th Centuries

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Assignment Code: BEGC-107 / TEE / 2021 - 2022

Course Code: BEGC-107

Assignment Name: British Poetry and Drama

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Answer all questions.

Section A


Answer with reference to the context: 5 × 4 = 20

Q 1. (i) “Duchess I have got well by you; you have yielded me

             A million of loss: I am like to inherit

             The people's curses for your stewardship.

             You had the trick in audit-time to be sick,

             Till I had sign'd your quietus”.

Ans) (i) The Duchess protests that she has done nothing wrong—she is not the only widow to remarry, and she remains pure. Ferdinand tells her that once gone, a good reputation can never be regained, and since she has lost hers, he will never see her again.


He leaves, and Antonio and Cariola return, Antonio carrying a gun. Antonio suspects that Cariola let Ferdinand into the room, and threatens her with the gun, but the Duchess tells him he came in through the gallery and gave her a knife, presumably for her to kill herself with. Bosola knocks at the door and Antonio exits before they let him in.


Bosola reports that Ferdinand has left for Rome and asks the Duchess why she seems upset. She makes up a story about Antonio falsifying her accounts, a lie that will force him to flee Malfi and hence escape potential harm. She tells Bosola to get her officers to arrest Antonio, and Bosala leaves.


Antonio returns, and the Duchess tells him of her plan. She demands he flee to Ancona, where she will send her treasure to him. When Bosola returns with the officers, the Duchess berates Antonio, but tells them to let him go freely, as she doesn’t want the public to find out about his crimes and blame her. She banishes him, and he leaves.


The Duchess asks for the officers’ opinions of Antonio, and they complain of his tight-fisted behavior towards them. When they leave, Bosola says they were flattering parasites to Antonio when he was doing well and tells the Duchess that she has made a big mistake and treated the honest and virtuous Antonio unfairly. He speaks at length about Antonio's virtue, until the Duchess, moved to trust him, admits that he is her husband.


Bosola declares himself impressed that she would marry him for his virtues in spite of his lack of rank. The Duchess, comforted, asks him to help keep her secret, and to take her money to Antonio in Ancona where she will meet them in a few days. The Duchess and Cariola exit, leaving Bosola alone to lament that he must tell all to Ferdinand, although he looks forward to the promotion, he will receive for doing so.


Q 1. (ii) “Yet once more, O ye Laurels, and once more

              Ye Myrtles brown, with Ivy never-sear,

              I com to pluck your Berries harsh and crude,

             And with forc’d fingers rude,

             Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year”.

Ans) (ii) The speaker of "Lycidas" opens his lengthy poem by talking to some flowers. He tells them he is again coming to pick their berries and trim their leaves. The laurel is a small evergreen tree, and it's one of those plants that means something in literature. In fact, it's associated with poetry, and with a god named Apollo, who was often depicted wearing a laurel wreath on his head. Why? Well, it's all goes back to the story of Apollo and Daphne, so make sure you brush up on your ancient romances. A myrtle is yet another kind of tree. "Sere" means "dry" or "withered," so we're thinking it's probably evergreen, too, if the myrtles are "never sere." "Rude" doesn't mean impolite here, but rather "harsh" or "violent." And "mellowing" doesn't mean calming down; it means "maturing." So, the speaker is violently picking the flowers and berries off these trees before they have ripened, in other words, too early.


Let's take a closer look at these lines:

First things first: our speaker doesn't seem too happy, now does he? What is his problem with these trees? They never did anything to hurt him. And speaking of those trees, what's with all the natural imagery going on here? Regarding rhyme, we've got the pairing of "sere" and "year," plus "crude" and "rude."


And while we're on the subject of form, we'll go ahead and mention that each of these lines (except for line 3) appears to be in a little something we like to call iambic pentameter.  Finally, it's also worth noting that the speaker is using an apostrophe here. No, we're not talking punctuation. We're talking about the fact that our speaker is speaking to objects that can't speak back – trees.


Q 1. (iii) “This aged Prince now flourishing in Peace,

               And blest with issue of a large increase,

               Worn out with business, did at length debate

               To settle the succession of the State”

Ans) (iii) Mac Flecknoe is the first substantial mock-heroic poem and Thomas Shadwell is the hero of this epic. The poem illustrates the qualities of Dryden's satire- the fund of truth at the bottom, the skilful adjustment of the satire so as to make faults of the merits which are allowed, the magnificent force and variety of the verse, and the constant maintenance of a kind of superior contempt never degenerating into mere railing or losing its superiority in petty spite.


The end of our king's life is near, however, and it is time now for him to declare his successor to the throne. He has been blessed with a "large increase" (a.k.a. an ample brood of offspring), and he must choose which one of his children will inherit the kingdom. So how will he make this decision? He will choose the heir who is most like the king himself, in wit and poetic ability (or, as Dryden implies, lack thereof).  Something tells us we aren't exactly going to get Shakespeare as the next king.


Q 1. (iv) “One speaks the glory of the British queen,

               And one describes a charming Indian screen.

               A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes.

              At every word, a reputation dies”.

Ans) (iv) These lines occur in Cant III of Pope's The Rape of the Lock. In these lines, Pope is speaking satirically with significant irony and something of mocking ridicule. The setting Pope is describing is where "the Heroes and the Nymphs" gather to "taste awhile the Pleasures" of the Queen's court, a court where she does "sometimes Counsel take--and sometimes Tea." Incidentally, this last quote underscores the irony and slightly mocking ridicule as a Queen is said to take either counsel on important matters of state or "Tea" to ease her appetite.


Pope goes on to say that the gathered heroes and nymphs talked about “instructive” things while in "Talk the' instructive Hours they past," such as, for example, "Who gave a Ball, or paid the Visit last." This line is replete with satirical irony: there is nothing instructive about gossip about who gave a ball or about who was the last to visit the Queen. The next two lines, the quote of your excerpt, tell what other “Instructive" things the heroes and nymphs at court talked about.


These topics prove to be as empty and idle as the other "instructive" topics. One--probably one of the heroes--talks about the "Glory" of their Queen, which is lovely and all, but certainly not noteworthy. The other talks about the features of a "charming Indian Screen," an upright piece of wooden furniture made in India with fabric panels and folding hinges used to separate parts of a room from other parts. Pope is satirically ridiculing the ironic level of thought and insight that is revealed by the speakers' conversation.


Section B


Answer the following in about 300 words each: 5 X 4 = 20


Q 1. What is the role of Bosola in The Duchess of Malfi?

Ans) Duke Ferdinand employs Bosola, a Machiavellian figure, to spy on the Duchess of Malfi. Though nominally her stable manager, he is there at the request of his royal patron to keep track of her travels.


This isn't the first time Bosola has been a part of a top-secret mission. On the orders of the Cardinal, Duke Ferdinand's brother, he once carried out the dirty work of another high-ranking official, assassinating a man. The Duke was persuaded that Bosola was the perfect person to spy on the Duchess after what he had done for his brother.


Bosola, on the other hand, does not appear to be a willing pawn. He has moral reservations about doing the dirty job for wicked aristocracy. He obeys the Duke simply out of devotion; he is not in it for the money.


Bosola's remorse is such that he can no longer work for Duke Ferdinand after aiding in the torturing of the Duchess. As a result, Bosola turns sides and aids Antonio in the assassination of the Duke and Cardinal. In the end, he inadvertently murders Antonio, but he still gets to do some good by murdering Ferdinand and mortally injuring the Cardinal in his final act.


Q 2. Write a note on the socio-cultural environment of 17th Century England.

Ans) The wealthy of London erected mansions along the Thames between the two towns of Westminster and London in the early 17th century, notably in the west of the city, while the lower class-built residences in the east. Soon, London was separated into two sections: the wealthy west end and the impoverished east end. Piped water became accessible to individual residences on London's west side soon after since the wealthy could afford this luxury - a connection to the main water supply line. Furniture was also simple and heavy, but from the late 17th century, more comfortable and artistically designed furniture was being manufactured of walnut or mahogany (1680s onwards). Furniture was carved out and inlaid with mother of pearl, as well as veneered, inlaid, and lacquered. In addition, new forms of furniture were introduced during this time, and by the mid-seventeenth century, chests of drawers and grandfather clocks were commonplace. Later in the century, the bookshelf would make an appearance, and chairs would be changed and made more comfortable as upholstered (padded and covered) chairs became popular in the houses of the rich. In the 1680s, the first genuine armchair arose.


From the 1680s onwards, horse-drawn carriages were accessible in London, and the streets were lighted by oil lamp streetlights, and towns became larger as work became more easily available. As England became increasingly commercialised, banking flourished. In 1694, the Bank of England was established. People began eating with forks for the first time in the early 17th century, and new delicacies like as bananas and pineapples, as well as chocolate, tea, and coffee, were brought into England for the wealthy.


These were some of the sociocultural changes that were occurring in England, but it was also the age of reason, thanks to the scientific breakthroughs that occurred throughout the 17th century.


Q 3. Satire as used in Mac Flecknoe.

Ans) “Mac Flecknoe" by John Dryden is a poetic satire against Thomas Shadwell, a fellow poet and colleague of Dryden's. This poem may be classified as personal satire since it focuses on and criticises the flaws of a single person, Thomas Shadwell.


A satire is a literary style that exposes a person's or a society's shortcomings with the goal of bringing these issues to the attention of the general audience. The speaker of the poem satirises Dryden's subject, a poet named Shadwell, from the opening stanza, in which Shadwell is described as the son of a king of prose and verse who governs over "the regions of non-sense." The king must pick one of his sons to succeed him, and he selects Shadwell, who is satirically portrayed as devilish. He has been described as "mature in dullness from his tender years," "confirmed in full idiocy," and someone who "never deviates into reason." The reader may immediately detect some significant insults directed against Shadwell in the opening stanza.


Dryden does not skip any opportunity to mock Shadwell and his literary technique throughout the lengthy poem. Throughout the poem, Dryden utilises a funny, sarcastically elevated diction and tone, emphasising the sarcasm even more; a poet this poor scarcely deserves the heroic treatment Dryden provides, unless the heroic language is mock-heroic and satirical (which, of course, it is). "Thy inoffensive satires never bite," Dryden satirises Shadwell's own attempts at satire towards the conclusion of the poem. Shadwell is dealt a fatal blow in the poem's final verse. Dryden left no mistake about his contempt for Shadwell and his work by accusing him of having more than his share of his imagined father's aptitude for awful poetry.


Q 4. Delineate the difference between Classicism and Romanticism.


The primary distinction is that Classicism emphasises reason whereas Romanticism emphasises imagination.


Second, unlike Romantic poetry, which emphasises simple language of regular people utilising their everyday vernacular, Classical poetry's diction is more rigorous and measured.


Then, the emphasis of Classicists is on form, simplicity, balance, and controlled passion. Even when Romanticists emphasise simplicity, they allow for an unrestrained flow of feeling.


Fourth, the world has a strict structure, according to Classical poets. This meant imposing morality and ethics in society in a way that matched the rigorously divine world order.


Fifth, although Romantic poetry is very subjective, Neo Classical poetry is objective. The Romantics allowed unfettered and uncontrolled expression of their instincts. The Romantic poets were free to express their own thoughts and views. The Classical poets, on the other hand, adhered to the established form and beliefs because they believed they were universal for all times, and there was no attempt to deviate from the set sequence.


Sixth, the Classicists believed that everything, including nature and human nature, could be logically understood because of their great conviction in an unchanging rational and moral order. Because Romanticists saw nature as enigmatic and ever-changing, they believed that the workings of the cosmos could only be grasped instinctively and imaginatively, rather than logically.


Seventh, Classicists upheld traditional human ideals and refused to question tradition or the rules of existence that it had established. They believed it was literature's job to expose these ideals, which left no room for even minor deviations. Man's knowledge capacity is again limited since he is not free to go beyond the predetermined values. The Romantics, on the other hand, talked about how man has no bounds and that he has an unlimited supply of resources to aid him in his spiritual and personal development.


Finally, the 18th century was favourable to the creation of satire and mock-heroic poetry as a result of this confidence in strong conventional laws and ethical rules. Anyone who disobeyed the established rules of behaviour, ethical living, or moral conduct was ridiculed harshly. One of the foundations of Romanticism is the belief in man's innate goodness, or the concept that man in his natural condition will behave properly, but that he is frequently hampered by civilization and the imposition of rules, and so loses his innocence.



Section C


Answer any three of the following questions in about 600 words each: 4 X 15 = 60


Q 1. What is John Webster’s concept of tragedy and his contribution to the tradition of ‘revenge plays’?

Ans) Various causes, conditions, and forces shaped John Webster's tragedy idea. He was primarily a sad artist due to his talent and character. The collapse of theatre and the renaissance spirit (during his time, i.e., the Jacobean period), the age's pessimism, and the breaking of ancient ideas and ideals all contributed to Webster's morbid temperament, which made him a tragic artist of international renown and reputation. His two major tragedies, The White Devil and The Duchess of Malfi, are responsible for his fame as a playwright. His comedy, The Devil's Law Case, was neither successful nor well-known. The Elizabethan vengeance playwrights, Seneca, the Italian philosopher and dramatist, and Machiavelli, the author of The Prince, were among those that inspired Webster as a tragic artist. All of these influences, however, could not detract from his uniqueness. We find too much horror, fear, murder, and slaughter in conventional vengeance plays, and we identify with the assailant rather than the victim. However, in Webster's plays, especially The Duchess of Malfi, we sympathise with the victim, the Duchess, rather than the assailants, Ferdinand, and the Cardinal.


There is no supernatural force in Webster's tragedies to hurl the hero to ruin and death. Some societal conditions and Machiavellian villains, such as Ferdinand and the Cardinal, lead the good and innocent to the verge of death in order to fulfil their sense of vengeance and achieve their own objectives. Bogard characterised Webster's perspective on the world and human affairs in the following way: “Man's world, as Webster views it, is a vast pit of darkness, and mankind, under the shadow of the pit, is ‘womanish and frightened.' The reasons of fear are numerous, but oppression and mortality are two of the most prominent. Oppression is a societal cause; man's inhumanity to man, society's ruin of the individual, sometimes exemplified by dramas involving a corrupt court of justice or a cruel social structure un which talented individuals are pushed to sycophancy in order to earn rewards from their Prince. The natural cause is death. It also implies devastation: disease-induced decay of the live body, worm-induced decay of the dead flesh, and the festering rot of the churchyard.”


Webster's characters, like Chapman's, are impossible to categorise as good or evil. Their personalities are a mix of Machiavellian and Senecan traits, making them more complex than Chapman's or any of his contemporaries'. “The intermingling of good and evil in the key personalities undoubtedly lends Webster's characters a complexity that evokes the profound studies of good and evil of Shakespearean tragedy,” writes Bogard, “but Webster's approach of constructing character is not Shakespeare's.” Webster, unlike Shakespeare, considers humanity as a totality rather than individuals. Bogard argues, "Shakespearean tragedy is personalised with an implied universality of applicability," when comparing Shakespeare's and Webster's tragedies. Individuals serve as normative models of Webster's vision of existence, and Websterian tragedy is widely social.”


In the true meaning of the phrase, there is no tragic hero in John Webster's tragedy. There is no figure in The White Devil or The Duchess of Malfi who deserves to be called a tragic hero. “Webster's tragedy is startlingly different from Shakespeare's because in the wide view no one figure jumps out as spiritually most significant; it may almost be argued that Websterian tragedy has no tragic hero,” Bogard argues, comparing the tragedies of Webster and Shakespeare. A character is significant to Webster not in terms of the well-being of his ideas and deeds, but in terms of his relationships, the repercussions of his thoughts and actions on his peers.


Q 2. Examine the biblical references in ‘Sonnet XIX’.

Ans) Sonnet 19: When I consider how my light is spent.


When I consider how my light is spent, Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one Talent which is death to hide Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, lest he returning chide; “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?” I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest: They also serve who only stand and wait.”


Milton is contemplating on his gradual loss of vision, and he opens the poem by assuming that because of his blindness, he would be unable to serve God or carry out God's purpose. As we continue reading, we learn that Milton has a change of heart and believes that God still wants him to carry on with his job despite his quickly worsening vision. By the time we get to the end of the poem, we see that Milton is convinced that he is truly serving God in the manner of the angels.


He opens the sonnet by declaring that he has spent half of his life helping mankind, but that the remainder of his life will be bleak if he loses his sight. He won't be able to see anything anymore. He also mentions his one ability, writing, which he will no longer be able to do now that he is blind. In these words, we can sense the poet's struggle to accept the truth of his blindness.


He stops grieving his loss of eyesight in the second stanza and instead wonders if he can still serve God, or if God still wants Milton to serve him. In the preceding lines, the poet's excitement is matched with "patience," which refers to the serenity required for impartial thought. He also wonders if it is stupid of him to want to serve God despite his blindness. Milton acknowledges the workings of Divine grace in human affairs in authentically Christian terms. There is a noticeable shift in tone - from anxious despair to an acknowledgement that God is both the giver and the withholder of gifts to man.


Milton realises in the third verse that it is not man's effort that pleases God, but rather the fact that a person is content and patient with what has been given to him. Milton also claims that there are many angels working tirelessly to complete God's works, while others wait to fulfil his bidding. God values both sorts of angels' contributions equally. In other words, Milton is attempting to convey that he has served God with his sight intact and that he can also serve Him without it. And both of his ways of serving the Lord are significant. Even though he has lost his vision, he is satisfied in the knowledge that he is still doing God's will. As a result, Milton's question appears to be foolish: how would a blind poet be able to fulfil God's will? The Christian's acceptance of God's dispensations, as well as his unwavering belief that God will accept any kind of service from his dependents, provides the poem a triumphant ending.


Q 3. ‘The Rape of the Lock’ is an excellent example of 18th century neo-classical poetry. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer.

Ans) The Rape of the Lock is a witty parody of 18th-century high society's vainness and laziness. Pope meant his lyrics to soothe heated tempers and encourage his companions to chuckle at their own stupidity, basing his song on a true event among families of his acquaintance.


The poem is perhaps the best example of the mock-epic genre in the English language. The epic had long been regarded as one of the most serious literary genres; it had been applied to high subject matter such as love and battle in the ancient period, and, more recently, by Milton, to the subtleties of Christian faith. Pope's mock-aim epic's is to criticise his society's inability to rise to epic standards, revealing its pettiness by pitting it against the grandeur of conventional epic topics and the valour and fortitude of epic heroes: The absurdity of a society in which values have lost all balance, and the trivial is treated with the severity and solemnity that should be reserved for really significant matters is highlighted by Pope's mock-heroic portrayal in The Rape of the Lock. The civilization depicted in this poem is one that can't tell the difference between what matters and what doesn't. The poem mocks the characters it depicts by portraying them as undeserving of a more noble culture's shape. The mock-epic is similar to the epic in that its core themes are serious and sometimes moral, but the fact that it must now be humorous rather than genuine is indicative of how far the society has fallen.


Pope's usage of the mock-epic genre is complex and thorough. The Rape of the Lock is a poem in which each aspect of the present situation conjures up a picture from epic tradition or the classical worldview, and the parts are woven together with a dexterity and competence that makes the poem unexpected and wonderful. Pope's changes are many, noticeable, and morally significant. Epic conflicts devolve into gambling matches and flirty squabbles. The mighty, though capricious, Greek, and Roman gods are transformed into a uniform army of rather ineffective sprites. Armor and weapons are replaced with cosmetics, clothes, and jewellery, while religious sacrificial rites are transferred to the dressing room and the altar of love.


The heroic couplet is the poetic form of The Rape of the Lock, and Pope remains the undisputed master of the form. The heroic couplet is made up of rhymed iambic pentameter lines in pairs (lines of ten syllables each, alternating stressed and unstressed syllables). Pope's couplets, on the other hand, do not fall into rigid iambs, instead blooming with a rich rhythmic variety that saves the metre from becoming heavy or boring. Pope's sentences, with their rigidly parallel syntax, are distributed over the poem's lines and half-lines in a way that emphasises the careful nature of his thoughts. Furthermore, the couplet form's intrinsic balance is ideally suited to a subject matter that relies on contrasts and comparisons: the form promotes configurations in which two concepts or events are balanced, measured, or contrasted against one another. It's therefore ideal for the poem's evaluative, moralising premise, especially in the hands of this talented poet.


Q 4. Discuss Mac Flecknoe as a mock epic with appropriate references.

Ans) The word mock - heroic denotes a blatant violation of an epic's literary style and traditions in order to make a ludicrous parody of a period or thing that the poet despises and intends to ridicule. More Poetry to Read the tactic of disproportion incongruity is used by the mock-heroic genre jerks. Epic devices that indicate nobility and grandeur are applied to little items, creating a sense of absurd incongruity. Exalted diction is used to describe trivial items, inflating the subject in the process. In this light, John Dryden's Mac Flecknoe is regarded as an excellent example of an English mock-heroic poetry. Continue reading Dryden's Era as Dryden states in his prologue to Anus Mirabilis, "the element of burlesque exposes nature in all her ugliness, at which we cannot forbear to laugh, for it is a divergence from nature." More Poetry to Read This style was inspired by the French poet Boileau's Le Lutrian, which combines the majesty of the epic with the sharpness of satire. Dryden used the mock-heroic approach to elevate his character to the rank of a pigmy and then deflate him to the status of a pigmy, effectively satirising Thomas Shadwell's literary pretensions.


The poem's very first lines have the heavy ring of heroic poetry. Epic exaltation pervades the backdrop and main action of the poem, which opens with the selection of a kingdom's ruler and his coronation. Read more about Dryden's Age The lofty concept is stated in exalted language in the first lines, but the reader is deflated in the sixth paragraph when he finds that the kingdom is made out of gibberish and the initiation ritual is for 'the prince of Dullness.'


Dryden's sarcastic politeness is one of the most poisonous weapons in his harmony. More Poetry to Read the first poem displays a brilliant combination of epic poetry's majesty and low comedy's banality. The use of phrases like "Empress Fame," "the countries assemble," "the fame of Shadwell's coronation," and others helps to create a sombre mood. Here's when the vituperative language comes in. Flecknoe's speech, which focuses on his declaration as the most suited heir to the king, borders on panegyric, yet it's full of deflating ideas. There is a reference tone, but the connotation is one of mockery.

Sh - alone , my perfect image bears

Nature in dullness from his tender years:

sh - stands confirmed in full stupidity.


The satiric effect of this sarcastic tone is terrible. More Poetry to Read All of Flecknoe's other kids may occasionally come to reason, but Shadwell's 'rising fogs' guaranteed a permanent lack of wit. Miltonic terminology (empire, ruled, prince, kingdoms, State successions, reign, etc.) is used to describe a person of unrivalled stupidity.


Dryden's Strategy language (prince, monarch, etc.) were used in profanation in relation to Shadwell in the past. The victim is reduced to insignificance by the absurd context in which such expelled language is utilised. Continue reading Dryden's Era Dryden's success as a mock-epic poet, according to T. S. Eliot, is due to his ability to turn the absurd into heroic poetry. The central humour of Mac Flecknoe is that Shadwell was deemed heroic enough to be characterised as such. A tiny guy isn't silly in and of himself; he becomes absurd when dressed in a hero's garment of amour.


Dryden's sarcastic pairing of satiric items with mythical characters mainly achieves the mock-heroic effect. More Poetry to Read Dryden names a pigmy of Shadwell by comparing him to legendary heroes. Shadwell's comparisons to Arian, the renowned singer, or Ascanius, the great Roman ruler, only serve to diminish his character. Shadwell is compared to Carthaginian hero Hannibal. Shadwell, on the other hand, waged a never-ending battle against wit and intellect, whereas Hannibal wore his hatred for Rome as a badge of honour. The Flecknoe-Shadwell connection is a satirical parody of John Baptist's and Christ's friendship. Flecknoe came to prepare the world for his son's greater dullness, just as John the Baptist came to prepare the way for Christ's greatest arrival. Read more about Dryden's Age As a result of these associations, Shadwell is mocked in the most heinous way possible.


The designation of Shadwell’s coronation is highly mock - heroic. Pomp and gaudiness mark the scene. Read More Poetry The place is ' Fair Augusta' where an 'ancient fabric rose to inform the sight '. But the next moment Dryden's states:

‘From its old ruin’s brothel houses rise,

Scenes of lewd loves and of polluted joys”


Instead of 'Persian carpets ' stock of dull books were spread over the way. The description of the prince also shows the hollowness of the scene:

                             ‘On his sinister hand, instead of ball,

                               He placed a mighty mug of potent ate.

Like a prude mock - heroic artist Dryden thus intermingle ridiculous elements and serious description and theory makes a comic feast of his subject.

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