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William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 (baptised) – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright and poet, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language.
Born: April 26th, 1564
Quotes: 159 sourced quotes total (includes 5 misattributed, 88 about)
|Words (count)||32||2 - 275|
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The time is out of joint: O cursed spite, That ever I was born to set it right!
We are such stuff As dreams are made on; and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.
O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
To be or not to be, that is the question.
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.
What's in a name? That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet.
All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.
Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes; Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
At once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in Literature & which Shakespeare posessed so enormously — I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.
Dolt & ass that I am I have lived more than 29 years, & until a few days ago, never made close acquaintance with the divine William. Ah, he's full of sermons-on-the-mount, and gentle, aye, almost as Jesus. I take such men to be inspired. I fancy that this moment Shakespeare in heaven ranks with Gabriel, Raphael and Michael. And if another Messiah ever comes twill be in Shakespeare's person.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.
Lord, what fools these mortals be!
The course of true love never did run smooth.
Come what come may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.
Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em.
Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?
What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god!
All that glisters is not gold.
A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind.
Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
What light through yonder window breaks?
Now is the winter of our discontent.
Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.
Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit and lost without deserving.
"With this same key Shakespeare unlocked his heart," once more! Did Shakespeare? If so, the less Shakespeare he!
As merry as the day is long.
Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.
Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is To have a thankless child!
Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more, Men were deceivers ever; One foot in sea, and one on shore, To one thing constant never.
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
If music be the food of love, play on.
We have seen better days.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all: to thine ownself be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Off with his head!
I am a man, More sinn'd against than sinning.
If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottages princes’ palaces.
A man can die but once.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments.
Of one that lov'd not wisely but too well.
I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me.
Nothing can come of nothing.
Beauty itself doth of itself persuade The eyes of men without an orator.
Time's glory is to calm contending kings, To unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light.
I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture
Dante and Shakespeare divide the modern world between them; there is no third.
Scorn not the Sonnet. Critic, you have frowned, Mindless of its just honours; with this key Shakespeare unlocked his heart.
The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he is really very good — in spite of all the people who say he is very good.
Our myriad-minded Shakespeare.
He was not of an age, but for all time!
There was ever more in him to be praised than to be pardoned.
Others abide our question. Thou art free. We ask and ask—Thou smilest and art still, Out-topping knowledge.
When I read Shakespeare I am struck with wonder That such trivial people should muse and thunder In such lovely language.
The two main Pillars of our Civilization, Jesus and Shakespeare said: "Nothing shall be impossible to Humans" (Jesus) "Impossibility is only seemingly impossible" (Shak.)
Renowned Spenser, lie a thought more nigh To learned Chaucer, and rare Beaumont lie A little nearer Spenser, to make room For Shakespeare in your threefold, fourfold tomb.
Shakespeare — the nearest thing in incarnation to the eye of God.
Children wish fathers looked but with their eyes; fathers that children with their judgment looked; and either may be wrong.
He who has injured thee was either stronger or weaker than thee. If weaker, spare him; if stronger, spare thyself.
On a day — alack the day! — Love, whose month is ever May, Spied a blossom passing fair Playing in the wanton air
I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
Shakespeare led a life of Allegory; his works are the comments on it.
Crabbed age and youth cannot live together: Youth is full of pleasure, age is full of care
The souls most fed with Shakespeare's flame Still sat unconquered in a ring, Remembering him like anything.
There, Shakespeare, on whose forehead climb The crowns o' the world. Oh, eyes sublime With tears and laughter for all time.
If we wish to know the force of human genius we should read Shakespeare. If we wish to see the insignificance of human learning we may study his commentators.
He that tries to recommend him by select Quotations, will succeed like the Pedant in Hierocles, who, when he offered his House to Sale, carried a Brick in his Pocket as a Specimen.
Nor sequent centuries could hit Orbit and sum of SHAKSPEARE's wit.
The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne, Burnt on the water.
What point of morals, of manners, of economy, of philosophy, of religion, of taste, of the conduct of life, has he not settled? What mystery has he not signified his knowledge of? What office, or function, or district of man's work, has he not remembered? What king has he not taught state, as Talma taught Napoleon? What maiden has not found him finer than her delicacy? What lover has he not outloved? What sage has he not outseen? What gentleman has he not instructed in the rudeness of his behavior?
I keep saying, Shakspeare, Shakspeare, you are as obscure as life is.
Shakespeare is not our poet, but the world's; Therefore on him no speech!
Far from the sun and summer-gale, In thy green lap was Nature's Darling laid.
Ben Jonson, To the Memory of My Beloved, the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare (1618)
But Shakespear's Magick could not copy'd be, Within that Circle none durst walk but he.
That deep torture may be called a hell, When more is felt than one hath power to tell.
Shakespeare was the Homer, or father of our dramatic poets; Jonson was the Virgil, the pattern of elaborate writing. I admire him, but I love Shakespeare.
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: ... So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
I remember, the players have often mentioned it as an honour to Shakespeare, that in his writing (whatsoever he penned) he never blotted out a line. My answer hath been, would he had blotted a thousand.
But my God, how beautiful Shakespeare is, who else is as mysterious as he is; his language and method are like a brush trembling with excitement and ecstasy. But one must learn to read, just as one must learn to see and learn to live.
England's genius filled all measure Of heart and soul, of strength and pleasure, Gave to the mind its emperor, And life was larger than before: Nor sequent centuries could hit Orbit and sum of Shakespeare's wit. The men who lived with him became Poets, for the air was fame.
I sent for some dinner and there dined, Mrs. Margaret Pen being by, to whom I had spoke to go along with us to a play this afternoon, and then to the King's Theatre, where we saw 'Midsummer's Night's Dream', which I had never seen before, nor shall ever again, for it is the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life.
The shape of the Globe gives words power, but you're the wordsmith! The one true genius; the only one clever enough to do it. … Trust yourself. When you're locked away in your room, the words just come, don't they, like magic. Words, the right sound, the right shape, the right rhythm, words that last forever. That's what you do, Will. You choose perfect words. Do it. Improvise!
Shakespearean language is a bizarre super-tongue, alien and plastic, twisting, turning, and forever escaping. It is untranslatable, since it knocks Anglo-Saxon root words against Norman and Greco-Roman importations sweetly or harshly, kicking us up and down rhetorical levels with witty abruptness. No one in real life ever spoke like Shakespeare's characters. His language does not "make sense," especially in the greatest plays. Anywhere from a third to a half of every Shakespearean play, I conservatively estimate, will always remain under an interpretive cloud. Unfortunately, this fact is obscured by the encrustations of footnotes in modern texts, which imply to the poor cowed student that if only he knew what the savants do, all would be as clear as day. Every time I open Hamlet, I am stunned by its hostile virtuosity, its elusiveness and impenetrability. Shakespeare uses language to darken. He suspends the traditional compass points of rhetoric, still quite firm in Marlowe, normally regarded as Shakespeare's main influence. Shakespeare's words have "aura." This he got from Spenser, not Marlowe.
Æschylus is above all things the poet of righteousness. "But in any wise, I say unto thee, revere thou the altar of righteousness": this is the crowning admonition of his doctrine, as its crowning prospect is the reconciliation or atonement of the principle of retribution with the principle of redemption, of the powers of the mystery of darkness with the coeternal forces of the spirit of wisdom, of the lord of inspiration and of light. The doctrine of Shakespeare, where it is not vaguer, is darker in its implication of injustice, in its acceptance of accident, than the impression of the doctrine of Æschylus. Fate, irreversible and inscrutable, is the only force of which we feel the impact, of which we trace the sign, in the upshot of Othello or King Lear. The last step into the darkness remained to be taken by "the most tragic" of all English poets. With Shakespeare — and assuredly not with Æschylus — righteousness itself seems subject and subordinate to the masterdom of fate: but fate itself, in the tragic world of Webster, seems merely the servant or the synonym of chance.
Wikiquote: Twelfth Night
Nothing is more common than the wish to be remarkable.
However wickedness outstrips men, it has no wings to fly from God.
I'm thinking "Great English wordsmith," my enemies and crew are thinking: "Shake…spear!"''
Mellifluous Shakespeare, whose enchanting Quill Commandeth Mirth or Passion, was but Will.
Shakespeare's drama, where ideal women walk in worship, and the baser sort find sympathy.
Shakespeare is a savage with sparks of genius which shine in a horrible night.
The passages of Shakespeare that we most prize were never quoted until within this century.
This Booke When Brasse and Marble fade, shall make thee looke Fresh to all Ages.
If Shakespeare required a word and had not met it in civilized discourse, he unhesitatingly made it up.
And so sepulchr'd, in such pomp dost lie, That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.
Shikspur, Shikspur! Who wrote it? No, I never read Shikspur. Then you have an immense pleasure to come.
If I would compare him [Jonson] with Shakespeare, I must acknowledge him the more correct poet, but Shakespeare the greater wit.
Voltaire and Shakespeare! He was all The other feigned to be. The flippant Frenchman speaks: I weep; And Shakespeare weeps with me.
The stream of Time, which is continually washing the dissoluble fabrics of other poets, passes without injury by the adamant of Shakspere.
Then to the well-trod stage anon If Jonson's learned sock be on, Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child, Warble his native woodnotes wild.
The verbal poetical texture of Shakespeare is the greatest the world has known, and is immensely superior to the structure of his plays as plays.
had all the speeches been printed without the very names of the persons, I believe one might have applied them with certainty to every speaker.
Good frend for Jesus sake forbeare To digg the dust encloased heare Blese be the man that spares these stones And curst be he that moves my bones
He is not so much an imitator, as an instrument, of nature; and 'tis not so just to say that he speaks from her as that she speaks through him.
Shakspeare (whom you and every playhouse bill Style the divine! the matchless! what you will), For gain, not glory, wing'd his roving flight, And grew immortal in his own despite.
Now you who rhyme, and I who rhyme, Have not we sworn it, many a time, That we no more our verse would scrawl, For Shakespeare he had said it all!
'I'm always ill after Shakespeare,' said Mrs Wititterly. 'I scarcely exist the next day; I find the reaction so very great after a tragedy, my lord, and Shakespeare is such a delicious creature.'
This was Shakespeare's form; Who walked in every path of human life, Felt every passion; and to all mankind Doth now, will ever, that experience yield Which his own genius only could acquire.
I never quite despair and I read Shakspeare — indeed I shall I think never read any other Book much [...] I am very near Agreeing with Hazlit that Shakspeare is enough for us.
He is of no age — nor, I may add, of any religion, or party, or profession. The body and substance of his works came out of the unfathomable depths of his own oceanic mind.
'tis plain he had much reading at least, if they will not call it learning. Nor is it any great matter, if a man has knowledge, whether he has it from one language or from another.
Shakespeare one gets acquainted with without knowing how. It is a part of an Englishman's constitution. His thoughts and beauties are so spread abroad that one touches them every where, one is intimate with him by instinct.
There's a statistical theory that if you gave a million monkeys typewriters and set them to work, they'd eventually come up with the complete works of Shakespeare. Thanks to the Internet, we now know this isn't true.
Soul of the Age! The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage! My Shakespeare... Thou art a monument, without a tomb, And art alive still while thy book doth live, And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
EDMUND (sits down opposite his father - contemptuously). Yes, facts don't mean a thing, do they? What you want to believe, that's the only truth! (Derisively.) Shakespeare was an Irish Catholic, for example. TYRONE (stubbornly). So he was. The proof is in his plays.
When great poets sing, Into the night new constellations spring, With music in the air that dulls the craft Of rhetoric. So when Shakespeare sang or laughed The world with long, sweet Alpine echoes thrilled Voiceless to scholars' tongues no muse had filled With melody divine.
If I say that Shakespeare is the greatest of intellects, I have said all concerning him. But there is more in Shakespeare's intellect than we have yet seen. It is what I call an unconscious intellect; there is more virtue in it than he himself is aware of.
Ultimately, Anthony Burgess's emphasis on the multiplicity of meanings latent in the text of Shakespeare's life foregrounds his own appropriation of Shakespeare … Clearly this is not an inconsistency on Burgess's part but a deliberate pointer at the inevitability of appropriating any given text, particularly that most irresistible one of Shakespeare's life.
For there is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers hart wrapt in a Players hyde, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you: and beeing an absolute Johannes fac totum, is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrey.
On this planet the reputation of Shakespeare is secure. When life is discovered elsewhere in the universe and some interplanetary traveler brings to this new world the fruits of our terrestrial culture, who can imagine anything but that among the first books carried to the curious strangers will be a Bible and the works of WIlliam Shakespeare.
What needs my Shakespeare for his honored bones The labors of an age in piled stones? Or that his hallowed reliques should be hid Under a starre-y-pointing pyramid? Dear son of Memory, great heir of fame, What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name? Thou in our wonder and astonishment Hath built thyself a livelong monument.
Shakespeare's name, you may depend upon it, stands absurdly too high and will go down. He had no invention as to stories, none whatever. He took all his plots from old novels, and threw their stories into dramatic shape... That he threw over whatever he did write some flashes of genius, nobody can deny; but this was all.
Do you know how they are going to decide the Shakespeare-Bacon dispute? They are going to dig up Shakespeare and dig up Bacon; they are going to set their coffins side by side, and they are going to get Tree to recite Hamlet to them. And the one who turns in his coffin will be the author of the play.
Consider now, if they asked us, Will you give up your Indian Empire or your Shakespeare, you English: never have had any Shakespeare? Really it were a grave question. Official persons would an swer doubtless in official language: but we, for our part too, should not be forced, to answer: Indian Empire, or no Indian Empire we cannot do with out Shakespeare!
Shakespeare has united the powers of exciting laughter and sorrow not only in one mind but in one composition. Almost all his plays are divided between serious and Ludicrous characters and they sometimes produce sorrow and sometimes laughter. That this is a practice contrary to the rules of criticism will be readily allowed; but there is always an appeal open from criticism to nature.
Yet it must be at last confessed, that as we owe every thing to him [Shakespeare], he owes something to us; that, if much of his praise is paid by perception and judgment, much is likewise given by custom and veneration. We fix our eyes upon his graces, and turn them from his deformities, and endure in him what we should in another loath or despise.
This figure that thou here seest put, It was for gentle Shakespeare cut, Wherein the graver had a strife With Nature, to out-do the life: O could he but have drawn his wit As well in brass, as he has hit His face; the print would then surpass All that was ever writ in brass: But since he cannot, reader, look Not on his picture, but his book.
The true description of us is the complex, ever-changing pattern of interactions of billions of them [neurons]... The abbreviated and approximate shorthand that we employ every day to describe human behavior is a smudged caricature of our true selves. "What a piece of work is a man!" said Shakespeare. Had he been living today he might have given us the poetry we so sorely need to celebrate all these remarkable discoveries.
Few of the university pen plaies well, they smell too much of that writer Ovid and that writer Metamorphosis and talk too much of Proserpina and Jupiter. Why, here's our fellow Shakespeare puts them all down. Aye, and Ben Jonson too. O that B. J. is a pestilent fellow, he brought up Horace giving the poets a pill, but our fellow, Shakespeare, hath given him a purge that made him beray his credit.
Wikiquote: King Lear
Wikiquote: The Sonnets
Wikiquote: The Tempest
Wikiquote: Richard III (play)
Wikiquote: Romeo and Juliet
Wikiquote: Julius Caesar (play)
Wikiquote: Timon of Athens
Wikiquote: Antony and Cleopatra
Wikiquote: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Wikiquote: The Merchant of Venice
Wikiquote: Henry IV, Part 2
Wikiquote: Much Ado About Nothing
Wikiquote: As You Like It
He has left nothing to say about nothing or any thing.
Children are made to learn bits of Shakespeare by heart, with the result that ever after they associate him with pedantic boredom. If they could meet him in the flesh, full of jollity and ale, they would be astonished, and if they had never heard of him before they might be led by his jollity to see what he had written. But if at school they had been inoculated against him, they will never be able to enjoy him. [...] Shakespeare did not write with a view to boring school-children; he wrote with a view to delighting his audiences. If he does not give you delight, you had better ignore him.
The occasionally expressed popular belief that Shakespeare must have helped prepare the translation of the Bible completed for King James in 1610 is based solely on the circumstances that a few famous passages from the translation and from Shakespeare's tragedies are the only specimens of Jacobian English most people ever hear. Rudyard Kipling, however, composed a whimsical short story, Proofs of Holy Writ, in which one of the translators consults Shakespeare and Jonson, and in 1970, Anthony Burgess pointed out that in the King James Bible the 46th word of the 46th psalm, translated in Shakespeare's 46th year, is "shake", while the 46th word from the end (if one cheats by leaving out the last cadential word "selah", is "spear".
Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. The saying goes you live by the sword you shall die by the sword...It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.
Over the past two centuries, there has hardly been an author, certainly in the English-speaking world, who has commanded greater reverence than Shakespeare. … There is only one text in the English language that carries comparable prestige to the works of Shakespeare: the Bible, in particular in its most renowned version, the King James Bible, otherwise known as the Authorized Version, of 1611. … In view of the persistent juxtaposition of these two Anglophone cultural icons … it is hardly surprising that they also feature together in a number of fictions of Shakespeare's life, in the form of the fantasy of the Bard as co-translator of the Authorized Version. The originator of this motif seems to have been Rudyard Kipling. In his story "Proofs of Holy Writ," Kipling imagines Shakespeare in the process of revising parts of the Authorized Version with the help of Ben Jonson.
When we speak of the aim and Art observable in Shakespeare's works, we must not forget that Art belongs to Nature; that it is, so to speak, self-viewing, self-imitating, self-fashioning Nature. The Art of a well-developed genius is far different from the Artfulness of the Understanding, of the merely reasoning mind. Shakspeare was no calculator, no learned thinker; he was a mighty, many-gifted soul, whose feelings and works, like products of Nature, bear the stamp of the same spirit; and in which the last and deepest of observers will still find new harmonies with the infinite structure of the Universe; concurrences with later ideas, affinities with the higher powers and senses of man. They are emblematic, have many meanings, are simple and inexhaustible, like products of Nature; and nothing more unsuitable could be said of them than that they are works of Art, in that narrow mechanical acceptation of the word.
To begin then with Shakespeare; he was the man who of all Modern, and perhaps Ancient Poets, had the largest and most comprehensive soul. All the Images of Nature were still present to him, and he drew them not laboriously, but luckily: when he describes any thing, you more than see it, you feel it too. Those who accuse him to have wanted learning, give him the greater commendation: he was naturally learn'd; he needed not the spectacles of Books to read Nature; he look'd inwards, and found her there. I cannot say he is every where alike; were he so, I should do him injury to compare him with the greatest of Mankind. He is many times flat, insipid; his comic wit degenerating into clenches; his serious swelling into Bombast. But he is always great, when some great occasion is presented to him: no man can say he ever had a fit subject for his wit, and did not then raise himself as high above the rest of the poets.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Burgess's Shakespeare is not a patient empire builder or visionary, but rather an unhappy man caught in an unenviable position, at the midlife crisis age of forty-six. … Burgess's point may well be that literary quality is not always recognized during one's lifetime … due to an ill-advised display of his wit in the presence of the king, Shakespeare is currently out of favor. … Particularly ingenious in Burgess's story is the way Shakepeare even hides his name in the text of the psalm. As he is forty-six years of age, he chooses Psalm 46; he counts to the forty-sixth word, replaces it by "shake"' then he starts at the end, counts forty-six words backwards (leaving out of the account the cadential "selah"), and changes that word into "speare." The surprising thing is, that the evidence shoring up this highly unlikely scenario is in itself authentic: in Psalm 46 AV, the forty-sixth word really is "shake", the forty-sixth word from the end (not counting "selah") being spear. Although Burgess's Shakespeare revises the psalm for wholly selfish ends, out of defiance and sinful pride, he does not thereby lose our sympathy. Unlike Kiping's self-confident sahib, he is not a superman that can lead nations; rather, in his everyday struggle with political realities, an unhappy marriage, and uncomprehending neighbors, he is a modern antihero whom we cannot begrudge his one moment of triumph. … For Burgess, art is the result of suffering between the hammer of what is and the anvil of what should be. He projects that vision on Shakespeare, whose drive for self-realization, impeded by his surroundings, finds an outlet in this act of creativity.