What are the faults of Shakespeare

Question: What are the faults of Shakespeare?


Doctor Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) is one of the well-known literary figures in the history of English literature.  In his literary criticism ” Preface to Shakespeare ” here he upheld some faults of Shakespeare.

As we know, Shakespeare (1564-1616) is a unique literary figure in the sky of English literature. But is not except for faults.  The faults of Shakespeare are mentioned below.

Violation of dramatic unities

Shakespeare is the first writer who does not maintain the three unites of drama that is essential for writing any kind of drama. There are three unities such as the unity of time, unity of place, unity of action but we do not get proper maintenance of these three unities in Shakespeare’s play. So, it is proved that he has violated the dramatic unities.

More Notes of Criticism

Use of peculiar words

In Shakespearian drama, we notice some words that are invented on his own. According to Johnson, Shakespeare used some peculiar words that are not matched with the colloquial language. The quoted line bears the meaning of the above sentence:

”That face to face and the royal eye to eye you have congreeted”

All type of reader does not understand the meaning of this line. It is one of the major faults of Shakespeare.

”That face to face and the royal eye to eye you have congreeted”

Various settings

Shakespeare is unique to his own idea. so, he has set not only one set but also many sets within one stage.  In this case, he has violated the unity of action. This is a remarkable fault of Shakespeare.

Violation of Diction

Johnson for the first time in the history of English literature has told that Shakespeare’s diction is really bombastic but at the same time, it is innovative. But we notice that Shakespeare has willingly avoided the diction of the drama.


So, it can be said that Johnson’s evaluation on Shakespeare depends on merits and demerits. But at the end of faults, the critic asserts that Shakespeare is unparallel and unique.

SR Sarker
SR Sarker
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