Shakespeare Essay

Shakespeare Essay-59
"There are one or two figures in the world of his work of which there are no words that would be fit or good to say. The place they have in our lives and thoughts is not one for talk.The niche set apart for them to inhabit in our secret hearts is not penetrable by the lights and noises of common day."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.

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Tolstoy on Shakespeare, by Leo Tolstoy This e Book is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.

You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this e Book or online at Tolstoy on Shakespeare A Critical Essay on Shakespeare Author: Leo Tolstoy Translator: V.

Several times I read the dramas and the comedies and historical plays, and I invariably underwent the same feelings: repulsion, weariness, and bewilderment.

At the present time, before writing this preface, being desirous once more to test myself, I have, as an old man of seventy-five, again read the whole of Shakespeare, including the historical plays, the "Henrys," "Troilus and Cressida," the "Tempest," "Cymbeline," and I have felt, with even greater force, the same feelings,—this time, however, not of bewilderment, but of firm, indubitable conviction that the unquestionable glory of a great genius which Shakespeare enjoys, and which compels writers of our time to imitate him and readers and spectators to discover in him non-existent merits,—thereby distorting their esthetic and ethical understanding,—is a great evil, as is every untruth.

Were this so, it would first have been unnecessary to make the father express the contempt felt by men in general, and, secondly, Edmund, in his monolog about the injustice of those who despise him for his birth, would have mentioned such words from his father.

But this is not so, and therefore these words of Gloucester at the very beginning of the piece, were merely intended as a communication to the public—in a humorous form—of the fact that Gloucester has a legitimate son and an illegitimate one.

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.

For illustration of my purpose I will take one of Shakespeare's most extolled dramas, "King Lear," in the enthusiastic praise of which, the majority of critics agree.

She, Regan, loves her father so much that everything is abhorrent to her except his love.

The king rewards this daughter, also, and then asks his youngest, the favorite, in whom, according to his expression, are "interess'd the vines of France and the milk of Burgundy," that is, whose hand is being claimed by the King of France and the Duke of Burgundy,—he asks Cordelia how she loves him.

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