Bloom on Shakespeare

“I never know how to take the assurances (and remonstrances) I receive from Shakespeare’s current critics, who tell me that Falstaff, Hamlet, Rosalind, Cleopatra, and Iago are roles for actors and actresses but not “real people”. Impressed as I (sometimes) am by these admonitions, I struggle always with the palpable evidence that my chastisers not only are rather less interesting than Falstaff and Cleopatra, but are also less persuasively alive than Shakespearean figures, who are (to steal from Ben Jonson) “rammed with life”.”

“If your Falstaff is a roistering coward, a wastrel confidence man, an uncourted jester to Prince Hal, well, then, we know something of you, but we know no more about Falstaff.”

– Harold Bloom, Shakespeare, The Invention of the Human

This quote alone should convince you of the brilliance of Bloom who no doubt would say he is simply a mirror reflecting the brilliance of Shakespeare.

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