The Meaning of Shakespeare (Volume 2)
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derisively: Still going? This is a lord! VI But Shakespeare was no Jacobin. Trust him not to leave things so one-sided as they would be if this were his last word in the matter. The plan of the play is triangular, and over against the miasma of Italian gentility and the cruder corruption of the British court he has put the mountain atmosphere of Wales and that incomparable trio, Belarius-Guiderius-Arviragus, the old man and the two kidnapped princes. These scenes are among the loveliest in
Chapter XXXV The Winter's Tale I Like Much Ado about Nothing, What You Will, and As You Like It, the title The Winter's Tale might seem to be the author's hint to us to take his play as pure entertainment, like a story told to a group around the fire of a winter's night. A sad tale's best for winter. I have one Of sprites and goblins, says the boy Mamillius. "Come on," says his mother, taking him up, and do your best lb fright me with your sprites; you're powerful at it. There was a man
him to an unreasoning fury. He encounters Hector on the field. But Hector, perfectly self-controlled as usual, perceiving that Achilles is battle-weary, exhibits that "vice of mercy" that Troilus had rebuked him for, and offers to let Achilles catch his breath: Pause, if thou wilt. But Achilles, construing Hector's fairness as pride, replies: I do disdain thy courtesy, proud Trojan. Be happy that my arms are out of use; My rest and negligence befriends thee now, But thou anon shalt hear of
which Macbeth pretended to be surprised and horrified at the death of Duncan. All this about the Third Murderer will be particularly abhorrent to "realists," who would bring everything to the bar of the senses, and logicians, whose fundamental axiom is that a thing cannot both be and not be at the same time.* One wonders if they never had a dream in which one of the actors both was and was not a character from so-called "real" life. Anything that can happen in a dream can happen in poetry.
world and comes back divested forever of all mere earthly royalty. Now for the first time she is a woman—and not Woman. No more but e'en a woman, are her first words as consciousness returns, and commanded By such poor passion as the maid that milks And does the meanest chares. It is as if she must compensate for having been queen by being not merely a woman, but the humblest of women, a menial, a servant. And as the fourth act ends, she confirms to Iras and Charmian the promise she made to