The Shakespeare Story-Book
Close and constant study of the great plays of Shakespeare must ultimately rouse in the student a more absorbing interest in their characters than in their plots. That is the final effect of supreme dramatic genius. But the full appreciation of Shakespeare’s sure and illimitable insight into character can never be reached until we have made ourselves thoroughly familiar with the plot in which the character has its substantive being. It follows, therefore, that if one would realise completely in due time the whole eminence of Shakespeare’s dramatic achievement, one should be encouraged at the outset to study closely the stories of the plays rather than the characters apart from their settings. When the youthful mind has grasped the manner and matter of the plots, it will in adult age be in a far better position than it could be otherwise to comprehend all the excellences, all the subtleties of the characters. Only when plot and character have received equally full attention will Shakespeare stand revealed to the mature student in his manifold glory. It is essential that young readers should find delight and recreation in the tales as he finally presented them in his plays. Such delight and recreation we believe the contents of this volume is fitted to afford them.
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