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Samuel Johnson’s Preface to Shakespeare

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This 3 page paper explicates Johnson’s Preface to Shakespeare. Bibliography lists 2 sources.

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3 pages (~225 words per page)

File: KV32_HV674769.rtf

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listed below. Citation styles constantly change, and these examples may not contain the most recent updates. Samuel Johnsons Preface to Shakespeare Research Compiled for The Paper Store, Inc. by K. Von Huben 5/2010 Please Introduction In his Preface to Shakespeare, Samuel Johnson explores some of the reasons he finds the writer to be so gifted. This paper explicates the Preface briefly. Discussion It must be said that Johnsons writing style, which is typical for his time (1765), is now somewhat difficult to read. Spellings have changed, and his penchant for extremely long sentences forces readers to go over them several times to extract the meaning. Nevertheless, its clear that for him, Shakespeare was a writer of extraordinary power and talent. For Johnson, Shakespeares greatest gift lies in his ability to bring life onto the stage as it really is. Johnson argues that other, less talented writers have to create fantastic characters to gain the audiences attention, and so they bring out a giant or a dwarf to excite the audience (Johnson). Thus, anyone who comes to one of these plays expecting to see a realistic portrayal of human affairs will be deceived (Johnson). These other authors also create larger-than-life heroes, again with the intent of engaging the audience (Johnson). But Shakespeare does not stoop to this: "Shakespeare has no heroes; his scenes are occupied only by men, who act and speak as the reader thinks that he should himself have spoken or acted on the same occasion" (Johnson). That is, Shakespeare depicts human life as it really is. Even when he is dealing with supernatural happenings, the dialogue is "level with life" (Johnson). Other writers do not deal with the incidents and passions of life realistically, so ...

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