The ability of both Shakespeare’s life and verse to absorb all interpretations and still remain unperturbed intoxicated the Romantics, because it seemed to offer an essentially poetic character who had the capacity to be everything and nothing. This is, of course, much more pointed in theatre anyway - and drama and impersonation are persistent themes throughout Shakespeare’s plays: “All the world’s a stage”, or the “poor player” who “struts and frets his hour upon the stage”. This created a suggestive abyss for the Romantics.
SHAKSPEARE’S POETRY IS CHARACTERLESS; THAT IS, IT DOES NOT REFLECT THE INDIVIDUAL SHAKSPEARE… HE WAS JUST LIKE ANY OTHER MAN, BUT THAT HE WAS LIKE ALL OTHER MEN. HE WAS THE LEAST OF AN EGOIST THAT IT WAS POSSIBLE TO BE. HE WAS NOTHING IN HIMSELF; BUT HE WAS ALL THAT OTHERS WERE, OR THAT THEY COULD BECOME. … IT STRUCK ME, WHAT QUALITY WENT TO FORM A MAN OF ACHIEVEMENT ESPECIALLY IN LITERATURE & WHICH SHAKESPEARE POSSESSED SO ENORMOUSLY - I MEAN NEGATIVE CAPABILITY, THAT IS WHEN MAN IS CAPABLE OF BEING IN UNCERTAINTIES, MYSTERIES, DOUBTS, WITHOUT ANY IRRITABLE REACHING AFTER FACT & REASON.
Shakespeare is all and nothing: everyman, and hence no one in particular. It is indeterminacy that makes Shakespeare so powerful. He does not impose himself on his characters — they have to work out their own motives and ponder their reasons. This makes them appear to live. This is likewise the psychology of the Romantic poet.