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Like most artists, I think that Shakespeare was something of a paradox. A collection of paradoxes, if you like. And I think that one of his paradoxes was this: He recognised his own power as a dramatist, and yet he accounted his plays to be things of little lasting value.
This is not to say that he disliked the theatre. On the contrary, I think that he loved both it and the fellowship that it brought him. After all, the plays are as much about the theatre as they are about anything else. But I think that in his heart of hearts, he regarded poetry as being the technically more demanding, and artistically higher, form. And I think that it was through his poetry, rather than his plays, that he entertained some hopes of being remembered.
I think that he felt, quite keenly, that had he not been required by necessity to earn a living - that had he been born an aristocrat - then he would have concentrated solely upon poetry, and not written the plays at all.
This would have been broadly comme