Remarks on Some of the Characters of Shakespeare by Thomas Whately
(Eighteenth Century Shakespeare)

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Synopsis

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1808 edition. Excerpt: ... REMARKS, &c. Every Play of Shakspeare abounds with instances of his excellence in distinguishing characters. It would be difficult to determine which is the most striking of all that he drew; but his merit will appear most conspicuously by comparing two opposite characters, who happen to be placed in similar circumstances:--not that on such occasions he marks them more strongly than on others, but because the contrast makes the distinction more apparent; and of these none seem to agree so much in situation, and to differ so much in disposition, as Richard The Third and Macbeth. Both are soldiers, both usurpers; both attain the throne by the same means, by treason and murder; and both lose it too in the It as lawful heir. Perfidy, violence, and tyranny are common to both; and those only, their obvious qualities, would have been attributed indiscriminately to both by an ordinary dramatic writer. But Shakspeare, in conformity to the truth of history as far as it led him, and by improving upon the fables which have been blended with it, has ascribed opposite principles and motives to the same designs and actions, and various effects to the operation of the same events upon different tempers. Richard and Macbeth, as represented by him, agree in nothing but their fortunes. The periods of history, from which the subjects are taken, are such as at the best can be depended on only for some principal facts; but not for the minute detail, by which characters are unravelled. That of Macbeth is too distant to be particular; that of Richard, too full of discord and animosity to be true: and antiquity has not feigned more circumstances of horror in the one, than party violence has given credit to in the other. Fiction has even gone so far as usurpation of...
 

About Thomas Whately

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Antony Kamm read Classics and English at Oxford University. He was lecturer in publishing studies at the University of Stirling 1988-95. His publications include the Collins Biographical Dictionary of English Literature (1993), The Israelites: an introduction (Routledge1999), The Last Frontier: the Roman invasions of Scotland (2004), and Julius Caesar: a life (Routledge 2006).
 
Published January 11, 2013 by Routledge. 141 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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