Shakespeare Essay

Altho I know that the majority of people so firmly believe in the greatness of Shakespeare that in reading this judgment of mine they will not admit even the possibility of its justice, and will not give it the slightest attention, nevertheless I will endeavor, as well as I can, to show why I believe that Shakespeare can not be recognized either as a great genius, or even as an average author.

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After this, trumpets are blown, and King Lear enters with his daughters and sons-in-law, and utters a speech to the effect that, owing to old age, he wishes to retire from the cares of business and divide his kingdom between his daughters.

In order to know how much he should give to each daughter, he announces that to the one who says she loves him most he will give most.

Not to mention the coarseness of these words of Gloucester, they are, farther, out of place in the mouth of a person intended to represent a noble character.

One can not agree with the opinion of some critics that these words are given to Gloucester in order to show the contempt for his illegitimacy from which Edmund suffers.

The drama of "Lear" begins with a scene giving the conversation between two courtiers, Kent and Gloucester.

Kent, pointing to a young man present, asks Gloucester whether that is not his son.

I remember the astonishment I felt when I first read Shakespeare.

I expected to receive a powerful esthetic pleasure, but having read, one after the other, works regarded as his best: "King Lear," "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet" and "Macbeth," not only did I feel no delight, but I felt an irresistible repulsion and tedium, and doubted as to whether I was senseless in feeling works regarded as the summit of perfection by the whole of the civilized world to be trivial and positively bad, or whether the significance which this civilized world attributes to the works of Shakespeare was itself senseless.

"The tragedy of Lear is deservedly celebrated among the dramas of Shakespeare," says Dr. "There is perhaps no play which keeps the attention so strongly fixed, which so much agitates our passions, and interests our curiosity." "We wish that we could pass this play over and say nothing about it," says Hazlitt, "all that we can say must fall far short of the subject, or even of what we ourselves conceive of it.

To attempt to give a description of the play itself, or of its effects upon the mind, is mere impertinence; yet we must say something.

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