Dr Johnson evaluates Shakespeare as the poet of nature by saying “noting can please and please long, but just representation of great nature”. By this he means that Shakespeare had the ability to provide a just representation of the general observation of reality. Here, Johnson represents the ideas of universality. Moreover, Johnson says that Shakespeare’s writings have a main theme of good and evil, which are the universal features. All humanity faces good as well as evil so the author who uses these problems will be related to people’s lives.
According to Johnson, the characters Shakespeare portrays are common to humanity. They are also true to the age, sex, profession to which they belong and hence the speech of one cannot be put in the mouth of another. His characters are not exaggerated. Moreover, his heroes are like common human beings, with common human emotions and feelings. The qualities that are found in Shakespearean heroes can be found in every human being. Johnson further asserts that “Shakespeare has no heroes; his scenes are occupied by men”. David Daiches describes that by having no heroes Johnson does not mean that his characters are not heroic or impressive, but this means that they are not supernatural beings but “men” whom we recognize as fellow human beings.
Shakespeare is one of the great and original masters of language. Johnson describes language of Shakespeare language of Shakespeare as comprehensible. A common human being can understand his language. Johnson also describes that Shakespeare’s characters differ from each other mainly because of the use of language. According to Johnson, the language of his comic scenes is the language of the real life which is neither gross nor over refined and it is not outdated and over embellished as well.
Dr Johnson praises Shakespeare’s plays and comments, “His drama is the mirror of life”. According to Johnson, Shakespeare’s plays are so realistic that we get practical knowledge from them. He further says that the division of Shakespeare’s plays into tragedies and comedies is wrong and unjust. Eliot also shares Johnson’s idea of incorrect labeling of Shakespeare’s dramas as tragic, comic, and historic.
Johnson judges Shakespeare’s tragedy as a skill” and “his comedy as an instinct”. He thinks that the natural medium for Shakespeare is comedy not tragedy. According to him, Shakespeare had to struggle for his tragedies but still they did not reach perfection.
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