But so much? And do we all need it, or at any rate deserve it? is another question. Sometimes indeed I wonder whether those of us who have our full share of senses ought to go to the cinema at all. It may be that its true purpose is to be the dramatist of the deaf.
It so happened that the Greek theatre did not possess a curtain, and did possess a Chorus; consequently, the Greek dramatist employed the Chorus, as we employ the curtain, to emphasize the successive stages of his action, to mark the rhythm of its progress, and, incidentally, to provide resting-places for the mind of the audience intervals during which the strain upon their attention was relaxed, or at any rate varied.
Or, if names be more acceptable than images, where is the ever to-be-honoured Chaucer? where is Spenser? where Sidney? and, lastly, where he, whose rights as a poet, contra-distinguished from those which he is universally allowed to possess as a dramatist, we have vindicated, where Shakespeare?
We know that he married Anne Hathaway, a woman eight years his senior; that in early manhood he went to London; that he became an actor, dramatist, manager of a theater; that in 1597 he bought New Place, the stateliest residence in Stratford; that he lived in Stratford during the last years of his life as a highly esteemed and worthy man, and that he died in 1616 and was buried in Trinity Church.
The disclaimer, seems on the whole, to partake very properly of the ironic nature of the ensuing pages; although it recalls that youthful declaration of the young dramatist, prefixed to his first comedy acted nearly thirty years before, that no private character was the target of his pen.
Nor did the duke's services to the dramatist end here; for when occasion offered he introduced him to the merry monarch, and so pleased was the king with the author's conversational powers that he admitted him to his friendship.
But the aim of the dramatist, in this comedy, would have been far more important and extensive; and how anxious he was to keep before his mind's eye the whole wide horizon of folly which his subject opened upon him, will appear from the following list of the various species of Affectation, which I have found written by him, exactly as I give it, on the inside cover of the memorandum-book, that contains the only remaining vestiges of this play:
The "permanent reality," he calls it, "which is never really immediate, which draws continually upon human experience and influences human action more and more, but which is itself never the actual player upon the stage. It is the unseen dramatist who never takes a call."
After all, it is not as a philosopher that Ibsen demands attention, but as a dramatist, as a playwright who is also a poet. If it is his weakness that his theory of life is overstrenuous, one-sided and out of date, it is his strength that he has opinions of his own and that he is willing to face the problems that insistently confront us to-day. As Mr.
As regards the resources which Shakespeare had at his disposal, it is to be remarked that, while he more than once complains of the smallness of the stage on which he has to produce big historical plays, and of the want of scenery which obliges him to cut out many effective open-air incidents, he always writes as a dramatist who had at his disposal a most elaborate theatrical wardrobe, and who could rely on the actors taking pains about their make-up.