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Introduction

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ITH Richard the Third Shake

speare completes his nonage. It is a masterpiece, but a masterpiece from the

same hand that contributed, to how

small or great an extent it is impossible to tell, but in any case prenticewise, to the final shaping of those typical dramas of a pre-Shakespearean epoch, Henry the Sixth and Titus Andronicus. It resumes the past, rather than preludes the future; and though the continuity of development is never broken, you shall hardly trace the lineaments of the creator of Macbeth and Iago in those of the youngest and most brilliant graduate in the school of Marlowe and Kyd. To say that there is nothing of Shakespeare's personality in Richard the Third would be a paradox, for assuredly his sign-manual is upon scene after scene; and indeed it is the principal object of this essay to isolate and fix an element in the composition of the play wherein Shakespeare's personality most strongly declares itself. But at most it affords his individual variation upon a tradi

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