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It may be well to add here a couple of portraits of Shakespeare in later life in order to establish beyond question the chief features of his character. With this purpose in mind I shall take a portrait that is a mere sketch of him, Duke Vincentio in "Measure for Measure," and a portrait that is minutely finished and perfect, though consciously idealized, Posthumus, in "Cymbeline." And the reason I take this careless, wavering sketch, and contrast it with a highly-finished portrait, is that, though the sketch is here and there hardly recognizable, the outline being all too thin and hesitating, yet now and then a characteristic trait is over-emphasized, as we should expect in careless work. And this sketch in lines now faint, now all too heavy, is curiously convincing when put side by side with a careful and elaborate portrait in which the same traits are reproduced, but harmoniously, and with a perfect sense of the relative value of each feature. No critic, so far as I am aware, not Hazlitt, not Brandes, not even Coleridge, has yet thought of identifying either Duke Vincentio or Posthumus with Hamlet, much less with Shakespeare himself. The two plays are very unlike each other in tone and temper; "Measure for Measure" being a sort of tract for the times, while "Cymbeline" is a purely romantic drama. Moreover, "Measure for Measure" was probably written a couple of years after "Hamlet," towards the end of 1603, while "Cymbeline" belongs to the last period of the poet's activity, and could hardly have been completed before 1610 or 1611. The dissimilarity of the plays only accentuates the likeness of the two protagonists.

"Measure for Measure" is one of the best examples of Shakespeare's contempt for stagecraft. Not only is the mechanism of the play, as we shall see later, astonishingly slipshod, but the ostensible purpose of the play, which is to make the laws respected in Vienna, is not only not attained, but seems at the end to be rather despised than forgotten. This indifference to logical consistency is characteristic of Shakespeare; Hamlet speaks of "the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveller returns" just after he has been talking with his dead father. The poetic dreamer cannot take the trouble to tie up the loose ends of a story: the real purpose of "Measure for Measure," which is the confusion of the pretended ascetic Angelo, is fulfilled, and that is sufficient for the thinker, who has thus shown what "our seemers be." It is no less characteristic of Shakespeare that Duke Vincentio, his <i>alter ego</i>, should order another to punish loose livers--a task which his kindly nature found too disagreeable. But, leaving these general considerations, let us come to the first scene of the first act: the second long speech of the Duke should have awakened the suspicion that Vincentio is but another mask for Shakespeare. The whole speech proclaims the poet; the Duke begins:


There is a kind of character in thy life,"

Hamlet says to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in what is supposed to be prose:

"There is a kind of confession in your looks."

A little later the line:

"Spirits are not finely touched But to fine issues,"

is so characteristic of Hamlet-Shakespeare that it should have put every reader on the track.

The speeches of the Duke in the fourth scene of the first act are also characteristic of Shakespeare. But the four lines,

"My holy sir, none better knows than you How I have ever loved the life removed, And held in idle price to haunt assemblies, Where youth and cost and witless bravery keep,"

are to me an intimate, personal confession; a fuller rendering indeed of Hamlet's "Man delights not me; no, nor woman neither." In any case it will be admitted that a dislike of assemblies and cost and witless bravery is peculiar in a reigning monarch, so peculiar indeed that it reminds me of the exiled Duke in "As You Like It," or of Duke Prospero in "The Tempest" (two other incarnations of Shakespeare), rather than of any one in real life. A love of solitude; a keen contempt for shows and the "witless bravery" of court-life were, as we shall see, characteristics of Shakespeare from youth to old age.

In the first scene of the third act the Duke as a friar speaks to the condemned Claudio. He argues as Hamlet would argue, but with, I think, a more convinced hopelessness. The deepening scepticism would of itself force us to place "Measure for Measure" a little later than "Hamlet":

"Reason thus with life:-- If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing

  That none but fools would keep; a breath thou art,
         *       *       *       *       *
                           The best of rest is sleep,
  And that thou oft provok'st, yet grossly fear'st
  Thy death, which is no more. Thou'rt not thyself;
  For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains

That issue out of dust. Happy thou art not; For what thou hast not, still thou striv'st to get,

And what thou hast, forgett'st.
* * * *
  What's in this,
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Lie hid more thousand deaths; yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even."    

That this scepticism of Vincentio is Shakespeare's scepticism appears from the fact that the whole speech is worse than out of place when addressed to a person under sentence of death. Were we to take it seriously, it would show the Duke to be curiously callous to the sufferings of the condemned Claudio; but callous the Duke is not, he is merely a pensive poet-philosopher talking in order to lighten his own heart. Claudio makes unconscious fun of the Duke's argument:

"To sue to live, I find I seek to die, And seeking death, find life: let it come on."

This scepticism of Shakespeare which shows itself out of place in Angelo and again most naturally in Claudio's famous speech, is one of the salient traits of his character which is altogether over-emphasized in this play. It is a trait, moreover, which finds expression in almost everything he wrote. Like nearly all the great spirits of the Renaissance, Shakespeare was perpetually occupied with the heavy problems of man's life and man's destiny. Was there any meaning or purpose in life, any result of the striving? was Death to be feared or a Hereafter to be desired?--incessantly he beat straining wings in the void. But even in early manhood he never sought to deceive himself. His Richard II. had sounded the shallow vanity of man's desires, the futility of man's hopes; he knew that man

"With nothing shall be pleased, till he be eased With being nothing."

And this sad knowledge darkened all Shakespeare's later thinking. Naturally, when youth passed from him and disillusionment put an end to dreaming, his melancholy deepened, his sadness became despairing; we can see the shadows thickening round him into night. Brutus takes an "everlasting farewell" of his friend, and goes willingly to his rest. Hamlet dreads "the undiscovered country"; but unsentient death is to him "a consummation devoutly to be wished." Vincentio's mood is half-contemptuous, but the melancholy persists; death is no "more than sleep," he says, and life a series of deceptions; while Claudio in this same play shudders away from death as from annihilation, or worse, in words which one cannot help regarding as Shakespeare's:

"<i>Claud</i>. Ay, but to die, and go we know not where; To lie in cold obstruction and to rot...."

A little later and Macbeth's soul cries to us from the outer darkness: "there's nothing serious in mortality"; life's

"a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."

And from this despairing gloom come Lear's shrieks of pain and pitiful ravings, and in the heavy intervals the gibberings of the fool. Even when the calmer mood of age came upon Shakespeare and took away the bitterness, he never recanted; Posthumus speaks of life and death in almost the words used by Vincentio, and Prospero has nothing to add save that "our little life is rounded with a sleep."

It is noteworthy that Shakespeare always gives these philosophic questionings to those characters whom I regard as his impersonations,[1] and when he breaks this rule, he breaks it in favour of some Claudio who is not a character at all, but the mere mouthpiece of one of his moods.

[Footnote 1: One of my correspondents, Mr. Theodore Watts-Dunton, has been kind enough to send me an article contributed to "Colbourn's Magazine" in 1873, in which he declares that "Shakespeare seems to have kept a sort of Hamlet notebook, full of Hamlet thoughts, of which 'To be or not to be' may be taken as the type. These he was burdened with. These did he cram into Hamlet as far as he could, and then he tossed the others indiscriminately into other plays, tragedies and histories, perfectly regardless of the character who uttered them." Though Mr. Watts-Dunton sees that some of these "Hamlet thoughts" are to be found in Macbeth and Prospero and Claudio, he evidently lacks the key to Shakespeare's personality, or he would never have said that Shakespeare tossed these reflections "indiscriminately into other plays." Nevertheless the statement itself is interesting, and deserves more notice than has been accorded to it.]

I now come to a point in the drama which at once demands and defies explanation. In the first scene of the third act the Duke, after listening to the terrible discussion between Isabella and Claudio, first of all tells Claudio that "Angelo had never the purpose to corrupt" Isabella, and then assures Claudio that to-morrow he must die. The explanation of these two falsehoods would be far to seek, unless we take it that they were invented simply in order to prolong our interest in the drama. But this assumption, though probable, does not increase our sympathy with the protagonist--the lies seem to be too carelessly uttered to be even characteristic--nor yet our admiration of the structure of a play that needs to be supported by such flimsy buttresses. Still this very carelessness of fact, as I have said, is Shakespearean; the philosophic dreamer paid little attention to the mere incidents of the story.

The talk between the Duke and Isabella follows. The form of the Duke's speech, with its touch of euphuistic conceit, is one which Hamlet-Shakespeare affects:

"The hand that hath made you fair hath made you good: the goodness that is cheap in beauty makes beauty brief in goodness; but grace, being the soul of your complexion, shall keep the body of it ever fair."

This Duke plays philosopher, too, in and out of season as Hamlet did: he says to Isabella:

"Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful,"

generalizing his praise even to a woman.

Again, when Pompey is arrested, he passes from the individual to the general, exclaiming:

"That we were all as some would seem to be, Free from our faults, as from faults seeming free."

Then follows the interesting talk with Lucio, who awakens the slightly pompous Duke to natural life with his contempt. When Lucio tells the Duke, who is disguised as a friar, that he (the Duke) was a notorious loose-liver--"he had some feeling of the sport; he knew the service"--the Duke merely denies the soft impeachment; but when Lucio tells him that the Duke is not wise, but "a very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow," the Duke bursts out, "either this is envy in you, folly, or mistaking: ... Let him but be testimonied in his own bringings-forth, and he shall appear to the envious a scholar, a statesman, and a soldier," which recalls Hamlet's "Friends, scholars, and soldiers," and Ophelia's praise of Hamlet as "courtier, soldier, scholar." Lucio goes off, and the Duke "moralizes" the incident in Hamlet's very accent:

"No might nor greatness in mortality Can censure 'scape; backwounding calumny The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?"

Hamlet says to Ophelia:

"Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shall not escape calumny."

And Laertes says that "virtue itself" cannot escape calumny.

The reflection is manifestly Shakespeare's own, and here the form, too, is characteristic. It may be as well to recall now that Shakespeare himself was calumniated in his lifetime; the fact is admitted in Sonnet 36, where he fears his "guilt" will "shame" his friend.

In his talk with Escalus the Duke's speech becomes almost obscure from excessive condensation of thought--a habit which grew upon Shakespeare.

Escalus asks:

"What news abroad in the world?"

The Duke answers:

"None, but that there is so great a fever on goodness, that the dissolution of it must cure it: novelty is only in request. ... There is scarce truth enough alive to make societies secure, but security enough to make fellowships accursed."

Escalus then tells us of the Duke's temperament in words which would fit Hamlet perfectly; for, curiously enough, they furnish us with the best description of Shakespeare's melancholy:

"Rather rejoicing to see another merry, than merry at anything which professed to make him rejoice."

And, lastly, the curious rhymed soliloquy of Vincentio which closes this third act, must be compared with the epilogue to "The Tempest":

"He who the sword of Heaven will bear Should be as holy as severe;
Pattern in himself to know,

  Grace to stand and virtue go;"
         *        *        *        *        *
  "Shame to him whose cruel striking
  Kills for faults of his own liking!
  Twice treble shame on Angelo,
  To weed my vice and let his grow!"
         *        *        *        *        *

In the fifth act the Duke, freed from making plots and plans, speaks without constraint and reveals his nature ingenuously. He uses words to Angelo that recall the sonnets:

"O, your desert speaks loud; and I should wrong it, To lock it in the wards of covered bosom, When it deserves, with characters of brass, A forted residence 'gainst the tooth of time And razure of oblivion."[1]

[Footnote 1: Cf. Sonnet 122 with its "full character'd" and "razed oblivion."]

Again, the Duke argues in gentle Shakespeare's fashion for Angelo and against Isabella:

"If he had so offended, He would have weighed thy brother by himself And not have cut him off."

It seems impossible for Shakespeare to believe that the sinner can punish sin. It reminds one of the sacred "he that is without sin among you let him first cast a stone." The detections and forgivings of the last act follow.

It will be admitted, I think, on all hands that Duke Vincentio speaks throughout the play with Shakespeare's voice. From the point of view of literary art his character is very far from being as complex or as deeply realized as that of Hamlet or Macbeth, or even as that of Romeo or of Jaques, and yet one other trait besides that of sceptical brooding is so over-accentuated that it can never be forgotten. In the last scene the Duke orders Barnardine to the block and the next moment respites him; he condemns

"An Angelo for Claudio; death for death,"

then pardons Angelo, and at once begins to chat with him in kindly intimacy; he asserts that he cannot forgive Lucio, Lucio who has traduced him, shall be whipped and hanged, and in the same breath he remits the heavy penalty. Truly he is "an unhurtful opposite" [Footnote: The critics are at variance over this ending, and, indeed, over the whole play. Coleridge says that "our feelings of justice are grossly wounded in Angelo's escape"; for "cruelty with lust and damnable baseness cannot be forgiven." Mr. Swinburne, too, regrets the miscarriage of justice; the play to him is a tragedy, and should end tragically with the punishment of the "autotype of the huge national vice of England." Perhaps, however, Puritan hypocrisy was not so widespread or so powerful in the time of Shakespeare as it is nowadays; perhaps, too, Shakespeare was not so good a hater as Mr. Swinburne, nor so strenuous a moralist as Coleridge was, at least in theory. In any case it is evident that Shakespeare found it harder to forgive Lucio, who had hurt his vanity, than Angelo, who pushed lust to outrage and murder, which strange, yet characteristic, fact I leave to the mercy of future commentators. Mr. Sidney Lee regards "Measure for Measure" as "one of Shakespeare's greatest plays." Coleridge, however, thought it "a hateful work"; it is also a poor work, badly constructed, and for the most part carelessly written. In essence it is a mere tract against Puritanism, and in form a sort of Arabian Nights' Entertainment in which the hero plays the part of Haroun-al-Raschid.] whose anger has no stead-fastness; but the gentle forgivingness of disposition that is so marked in Vincentio is a trait we found emphasized in Romeo, and again in Hamlet and again in Macbeth. It is, indeed, one of the most permanent characteristics of Shakespeare. From the beginning to the end of the play, Duke Vincentio is weakly-kind in act and swayed by fitful impulses; his assumed austerity of conduct is the thin varnish of vanity that will not take on such soft material. The Hamlet weakness is so exaggerated in him, and so unmotived, that I am inclined to think Shakespeare was even more irresolute and indisposed to action than Hamlet himself.

In the character of Posthumus, the hero of "Cymbeline," Shakespeare has painted himself with extraordinary care; has, in fact, given us as deliberate and almost as complete a picture of himself as he did in Hamlet. Unluckily his hand had grown weaker in the ten years' interval, and he gave such loose rein to his idealizing habit that the portrait is neither so veracious nor so lifelike. The explanation of all this will be given later; it is enough for the moment to state that as Posthumus is perhaps the completest portrait of him that we have after his mental shipwreck, we must note the traits of it carefully, and see what manner of man Shakespeare took himself to be towards the end of his career.

It is difficult to understand how the commentators have been able to read "Cymbeline" without seeing the likeness between Posthumus and Hamlet. The wager which is the theme of the play may have hindered them a little, but as they found it easy to excuse its coarseness by attributing lewdness to the time, there seems to have been no reason for not recognizing Posthumus. Posthumus is simply a staider Hamlet considerably idealized. I am not at all sure that the subject of the play was void of offence in the time of Elizabeth; all finer spirits must even then have found it puerile and coarse. What would Spenser have said about it? Shakespeare used the wager because of the opportunities it gave him of painting himself and an ideal woman. His view of it is just indicated; Iachimo says:

"I make my wager rather against your confidence than her reputation: and, to bar your offence herein too, I durst attempt it against any lady in the world." But in spite of the fact that Iachimo makes his insult general, Posthumus warns him that:

"If she remain unseduced ... for your ill opinion, and the assault you have made to her chastity, you shall answer me with your sword."

From this it appears that the bet was distasteful to Posthumus; it is not so offenceful to him as it should have been according to our modern temper; but this shortcoming, an unconscious shortcoming, is the only fault which Shakespeare will allow in his hero. In the first scene of the first act Posthumus is praised as men never praise the absent without a personal motive; the First Gentleman says of him:

  "I do not think

So fair an outward and such stuff within Endows a man but he."

The Second Gentleman replies:

"You speak him far;"

and the First Gentleman continues:

"I do extend him, sir, within himself; Crush him together, rather than unfold His measure duly."

And as if this were not enough, this gentleman-eulogist goes on to tell us that Posthumus has sucked in "all the learnings" of his time "as we do air," and further:

  "He lived in court--

Which rare it is to do--most praised, most loved; A sample to the young'st, to the more mature A glass that feated them; and to the graver A child that guided dotards."

This gross praise is ridiculously unnatural, and outrages our knowledge of life; men are much more apt to criticize than to praise the absent; but it shows a prepossession on Shakespeare's part in favour of Posthumus which can only be explained by the fact that in Posthumus he was depicting himself. Every word is significant to us, for Shakespeare evidently tells us here what he thought about himself, or rather what he wished to think, towards the end of his life. It is impossible to believe that he was "most praised, most loved"; men do not love or praise their superiors in looks, or intellect.

The first words which Posthumus in this same scene addresses to Imogen, show the gentle Shakespeare nature:

"O lady, weep no more, lest I give cause To be suspected of more tenderness Than doth become a man."

And when Imogen gives him the ring and tells him to wear it till he woos another wife, he talks to her exactly as Romeo would have talked:

  "How! how! another?--

You gentle gods, give me but this I have, And sear up my embracements from a next With bonds of death! [<i>Putting on the ring</i>.]

  Remain, remain thou here

While sense can keep it on."

And he concludes as self-depreciating Hamlet would have concluded:

"And sweetest, fairest, As I my poor self did exchange for you, To your so infinite loss, so in our trifles I still win of you; for my sake wear this: It is a manacle of love; I'll place it Upon this fairest prisoner.
[Putting a bracelet on her arm.]"

In his fight with Cloten he is depicted as a rare swordsman of wonderful magnanimity. Pisanio says:

"My master rather played than fought, And had no help of anger."

I call this gentle kindness which Posthumus displays, the birthmark of Shakespeare; he had "no help of anger." As the play goes on we find Shakespeare's other peculiarities, or Hamlet's. Iachimo represents Posthumus as "merry," "gamesome," "the Briton reveller"; but curiously enough Imogen answers as Ophelia might have answered about Hamlet:

"When he was here,
He did incline to sadness; and ofttimes Not knowing why."

This uncaused melancholy that distinguishes Romeo, Jaques, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Vincentio is not more characteristic of the Hamlet-Shakespeare nature than the way Posthumus behaves when Iachimo tries to make him believe that he has won the wager. Posthumus is convinced almost at once; jumps to the conclusion, indeed, with the heedless rapidity of the naïve, sensitive, quick-thinking man who has cultivated his emotions and thoughts by writing in solitude, and not the suspicions and distrust of others which are developed in the market-place. One is reminded of Goethe's famous couplet:

"Es bildet ein Talent sich in der Stille, Sich ein Charakter in dem Strom der Welt."

Posthumus is all in fitful extremes; not satisfied with believing the lie, he gives Iachimo Imogen's ring as well, and bursts into a diatribe:

"Let there be no honour
Where there's beauty; truth, where semblance; love, Where there's another man,"

and so forth. Even Philario, who has no stake in the matter, is infinitely harder to convince:

"Have patience, sir,
And take your ring again; 'tis not yet won: It may be probable she lost it."

Then this "unstable opposite," Posthumus, demands his ring back again, but as soon as Iachimo swears that he had the bracelet from her arm, Posthumus swings round again to belief from sheer rapidity of thought. Again Philario will not be convinced. He says:

"Sir, be patient,
This is not strong enough to be believed Of one persuaded well of--"

But Posthumus will not await the proof for which he has asked. He is convinced upon suspicion, as Othello was, and the very nimbleness of his Hamlet-intellect, seeing that probabilities are against him, entangles him in the snare. Even his servant Pisanio will not believe in Imogen's guilt though his master assures him of it. Shakespeare does not notice this peculiar imprudent haste of his hero, as he notices, for example, the hasty speech of Hotspur by letting Harry of England imitate it, simply because the quick-thinking was his own; while the hurried stuttering speech was foreign to him. Posthumus goes on to rave against women as Hamlet did; as all men do who do not understand them:

"For even to vice
They are not constant, but are changing still."

And Posthumus betrays as clearly as ever Hamlet did that he is merely Shakespeare masquerading:

  "I'll write against them,

Detest them, curse them--yet 'tis greater skill In a true hate, to pray they have their will: The very devils cannot plague them better."

"Write against them" indeed! This is the same threat which Shakespeare uses against his dark mistress in Sonnet 140, and every one will admit that it is more in the character of the poet and man of letters than in that of the warrior son-in-law of a half-barbarous king. The last line here, because it is a little superfluous, a little emphatic, seems to me likely to have a personal application. When Shakespeare's mistress had her will, did she fall to misery, I wonder?

I may be allowed to notice here how intensely characteristic all this play is of Shakespeare. In the third scene of the third act, life in the country is contrasted to its advantage with life at Court; and then gold is treated as dirt by the princely brothers--both these, the love of country life, and the contempt of gold, are, as we shall see later, abiding peculiarities of Shakespeare.

When we come to Posthumus again almost at the end of the play we find that his anger with Imogen has burned itself out. He is angry now with Pisanio for having executed his order and murdered her; he should have "saved the noble Imogen to repent." Surely the poet Shakespeare and not the outraged lover speaks in this epithet, "noble."

Posthumus describes the battle in which he took so gallant a part in Shakespeare's usual manner. He falls into rhyme; he shows the cheap modesty of the conventional hero; he tells of what others did, and nothing of his own feats; Belarius and the two striplings, he says:

"With their own nobleness ... gilded pale looks."

Unfortunately one is reminded of the exquisite sonnet line:

"Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy."

"Gild" is one of Shakespeare's favourite words; he uses it very often, sometimes indeed as in this case, ineffectively.

But the scene which reveals the character of Posthumus beyond all doubt is the prison scene in the fifth act. His soliloquy which begins:

"Most welcome, bondage, for thou art a way, I think, to liberty "--

is all pure Shakespeare. When he determines to give up life, he says:

  "O Imogen!

I'll speak to thee in silence,"

and Hamlet at his death comes to the self-same word:

"The rest is silence."

The scene with the gaoler is from Hamlet's soul; Posthumus jests with his keeper as Hamlet with the gravedigger:

"So, if I prove a good repast to the spectators, the ship pays the shot;"

and the Hamlet melancholy:

"I am merrier to die than them art to live;"

and the Hamlet riddle still unsolved:

"I tell thee, fellow, there are none want eyes to direct them the way I am going; but such as wink, and will not use them."

When the messenger comes to bring him to the king, Posthumus cries:

"Thou bringest good news, I am called to be made free,"

for there are "no bolts for the dead."

Those who wish to see how Shakespeare's mind worked will compare Posthumus' speech to Iachimo, when he has learned the truth, with Othello's words when he is convinced of his own fatal error and of Desdemona's chastity. The two speeches are twins; though the persons uttering them should be of totally different characters. The explanation of this astounding similarity will be given when we come to "Othello."

It is characteristic of Posthumus that he should strike Imogen in her page's dress, not recognizing her; he is ever too quick--a mere creature of impulse. More characteristic still is the way he forgives Iachimo, just as Vincentio forgave Angelo:

"Kneel not to me:
The power that I have on you, is to spare you, The malice towards you, to forgive you. Live, And deal with others better."

In judging his fellow-men this is Shakespeare's harshest word. Posthumus, then, is presented to us in the beginning of the play as perfect, a model to young and old, of irreproachable virtue and of all wonderful qualities. In the course of the play, however, he shows himself very nimble-witted, credulous, and impulsive, quick to anger and quicker still to forgive; with thoughts all turned to sadness and to musing; a poet--ever in extremes; now hating his own rash errors to the point of demanding the heaviest punishment for them; now swearing that he will revenge himself on women by writing against them; a philosopher--he jests with his gaoler and consoles himself with despairing speculation in the very presence of the Arch-Fear. All these are manifestly characteristics of Hamlet, and Posthumus possesses no others.

So far, then, from finding that Shakespeare never revealed himself in his dramas, I have shown that he pictured himself as the hero [Footnote: A hypercritic might contend that Jaques was not the hero of "As You Like It"; but the objection really strengthens my argument. Shakespeare makes of Jaques, who is merely a secondary character without influence on the action, the principal person in the play simply because in Jaques he satisfied his own need of self-revealing.] of six plays written at widely different times; in fact that, like Rembrandt, he painted his own portrait in all the critical periods of life: as a sensuous youth given over to love and poetry in Romeo; a few years later as a melancholy onlooker at life's pageant in Jaques; in middle age as the passionate, melancholy, aesthete-philosopher of kindliest nature in Hamlet and Macbeth; as the fitful Duke incapable of severity in "Measure for Measure," and finally, when standing within the shadow, as Posthumus, an idealized yet feebler <i>replica</i> of Hamlet.

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