Wit, Humor and Shakespeare: 12 Essays

Nov 5, 2012 by

Wit, Humor and Shakespeare: Twelve Essays by John Weiss originally published in 1876 offers the reader much background into Shakespeare’s  brilliance:

“Shakespeare was not preoccupied by any theory of the universe which denies the facts or tries to shut them up in a private meaning, as theology does. His creative genius reflected a Creator’s mind. So he accepted all that is permitted to exist, without extenuation, instinctively acknowledging the right of God to make men as they are, if so He chose, out of complex motives and passions whose roots are hidden in each man’s ancestry, and whose drift the man himself cannot anticipate, as he was not consulted.

This admission of all the facts of human nature did not disable his preference for pure and honest things. All that is lovely has a good report made of it in his lives, and all that is odious appears in its habit as it lived. Thus he moralized, as Nature does by letting all her creatures breed and show their traits. She pastes no placards upon things which advertise themselves to every observer. All our infirmities have the freedom of Shakespeare’s verse to display themselves at pleasure. He is not standing by with a showman’s stick to designate his creatures to us who have eyes of our own, and know what is ugly and pleasant when we see it. No perfume is added to the violet, no gilding to  the rose. ” The image of a wicked heinous fault ” lives in its eye.”

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