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On Ten Plays Of Shakespeare Stopford Augustus Brooke

On Ten Plays Of Shakespeare

Stopford Augustus Brooke

Published
ISBN : 9780404011093
Hardcover
311 pages
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 About the Book 

CONTENTS I. MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM ROMEO AND JULIET . IV. RICHARD III. v . V. MERCHANT OF VENICE VC AS YOU LIKE IT . VII. MACBETH VIII. CORIOLANUSxX ix. WINTERS TALE X. THE TEMPEST . MIDSUMMEK NIGHTS DREAM Midsummer Nights Dream belongs, probably, toMoreCONTENTS I. MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM ROMEO AND JULIET . IV. RICHARD III. v . V. MERCHANT OF VENICE VC AS YOU LIKE IT . VII. MACBETH VIII. CORIOLANUSxX ix. WINTERS TALE X. THE TEMPEST . MIDSUMMEK NIGHTS DREAM Midsummer Nights Dream belongs, probably, to the winter of 1595, and was made, it has been said, to cele- brate a marriage. This may well be so it has a bridal atmosphere. Though the affairs of love are fantastically tangled in it and their music jangled, even in fairyland, yet in the end the tangle is resolved, and the marriage- bells are tuneful. It is a comedy of love. About four years before, in 1591, Shakespeare had written a tragedy of love in Romeo and Juliet. To begin this book with the earlier play would have been more historical, but not wiser. Romeo and Juliet is the kind oflove-tragedy a young man writes in order to dramatise his pleasure with some imagined sorrow. Shakespeare did not write it out of any personal gloom or any deep knowledge of the trouble of the world. It was written to try his eager and happy hand at tragedy and a youthful exuberance frequently emerges through its sorrows. Few things are more different than the tragic spirit in Romeo and Juliet, which was in the story but not in Shakespeare, than the tragic spirit in Lear and Othello, which was in himself and then embodied in the tragedies. The real Shakespeare at this time was full to the brim with the joyous spirit of youth. And Midsummer Nights Dream represents the actual temper of his soul far more truly than Romeo and Juliet. I have therefore chosen to begin with it. Delight in life pleasure in himself, and in mankind sympathy with brightness more than with sorrow an enkindling happiness were, inspite of his tragedies, the very root of Shakespeare. Having power and love and a sound mind, he could, naturally, play with human life nor did his power to do this prevent his sympathy with its pain, or dim the clear eyes with which he saw its miseries. On the contrary, he owed to the deep-seated foyfulness in him the sanity of his judgment of life, the unbiassed justice with which he weighed its good and evil in the balance, the clear sight he had of physical and moral evil. It is the cheerful poet who sees the gloom most lucidly, most wisely. When grimness or sulks at life get down to the centre of a man, they disease his judgment, weaken his intelligence, dim his sight, disenable his feeling and, if he be an artist, enfeeble his grip of his subject, disperse his concentration, deprive him of that creative apartness from his materials which enables him to use them as he pleases for the making of a new thing. He loses, that is, the divine command of his genius, not only over the comedy of life, but also over its tragedy. Deeply as Shakespeare felt the woe, wickedness, and weakness of humanity, he was still their master. If he was in them, he was also beyond them, and in this twofold relation to them lay his artistic mastery of tragedy. It was the same with Sophocles, and it is this which makes him greater than Euripides. This power to stand outside as well as inside of human sorrow belonged to Shakespeare, because at the deepest root of him was, I repeat, delight in life even rapture theword is not too strong with the playfulness of its spring and the fulness of its summer. Midsummer Nights Dream is Shakfispfiazfiat lyric play with human life and also .with the beautiful life of thenatural world. As such, it represents the constant, even the dominant, spirit of Shakespeares nature more truly than his tragedies...