The Influence of Acting on Writing
Shakespeare might also (according to recent computer analysis) have played the First Player in Hamlet, the black character Aaron in Titus Andronicus, Duke Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Antonio in Twelfth Night, even Ulysses in Troilus and Cressida, as well as miscellaneous kings, old men and choruses - such as Friar Laurence and the chorus in Romeo and Juliet, and old John of Gaunt and the Gardener in Richard II.
SHORT PARTS THAT WOULD USUALLY HAVE ME ON AND OFF IN EARLY SCENES - SOMETIMES WITH THE FIRST LINE - AND DELIVERING FINE SET - PLECE SPEECHES. THE PARTS HE MEMORIZED FOR ONE PERFORMANCE, WHILE HE WAS COMPOSING A NEW PLAY, COULD ALSO HAVE INFLUENCED HIS WRITING STYLE.
His plays are in any case often linked. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, possibly staged a few days after Romeo and Juliet, is a sharp parody of the earlier romantic tragedy. Shakespeare often alluded to his earlier works — and often ironically.
The Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) later said …
“GREAT DRAMATISTS MAKE GREAT ACTORS. BUT LOOKING AT HIM MERELY AS A PERFORMER, I AM CERTAIN HE WAS GREATER AS ADAM, IN ’AS YOU LIKE IT,’ THAN BURBAGE, AS HAMLET, OR RICHARD THE THIRD. THINK OF THE SCENE BETWEEN HIM AND ORLANDO; AND THINK AGAIN, THAT THE ACTOR OF THAT PART HAD TO CARRY THE AUTHOR OF THAT PLAY IN HIS ARMS! THINK OF HAVING HAD SHAKESPEARE IN ONE’S ARMS! IT IS WORTH HAVING DIED TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO TO HAVE HEARD SHAKESPEARE DELIVER A SINGLE LINE. HE MUST HAVE BEEN A GREAT ACTOR.”