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“I place Macbeth between the years 1606 to 1608, between Lear and Cymbeline. In the same period and directly after Macbeth I must place Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra—on external proofs of language and com- position, since in both pieces also there is no extant quarto, the Folio text of 1623 being the first issue. Also there is no notice of any first performance in Shake- speare's lifetime. Directly after this we must place Coriolanus, of which there is no external notice. Our modern poet (Freytag), who has perhaps the finest per- ception for technique of dramatic composition, places this tragedy very high, and says besides that the cumulative construction of the first scene and act is abso- lutely masterly. According to my own feelings Coriolanus has therein much of the greatness of composition of Macbeth. The commencement of elliptical and in- volved construction in language is manifest soon after the time of Macbeth. This is the last and highest point of Shakespeare's poetical development. Directly after that there begins to be perceived a gradual decline of poetical craft, until in Troilus and Cressida and Timon of Athens the last period has already begun to mark clearly the ageing poet, that is, from 1608 to about 1609.

Sträter (p. 174)
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