Why is Shakespeare called “the poet of nature” by Johnson?

William Shakespeare (1564-1616),  the most striking and luminous star in the realm of English drama, was the master of art. Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), regarded as one of the advocates of neo- classicism, has very confidently proclaimed that Shakespeare is above all writers. In Preface to Shakespeare, Johnson logically and successfully proves that no other dramatist has been successful in attaining the heights as Shakespeare has achieved. Johnson’s admiration for Shakespeare is not merely passionate but spontaneous and genuine. With more eloquent and justifiable attitude, Johnson has sincerely exposed the supremacy of Shakespeare among all writers, at least the modern authors.

To read more : Evaluate Dr. Johnson as a critic of Shakespeare

Johnson’s Proclamation: Without any hesitation Johnson firmly proclaims in his “Preface” that,

“Shakespeare is, above all writers, at least above all modern writers, the poet of nature, the poet that holds up to his readers a faithful mirror of manners and of life.”

At first Johnson announces the highest authority of William Shakespeare in the kingdom of writers. And in the rest of the lines, he acutely highlights the fact with a minute observation. At last Johnson becomes capable to show that the position of Shakespeare is really unrivaled and unique at least among the modern authors. Johnson argues in favour of his consideration that Shakespeare’s plays are a faithful mirror of every aspect of our life and manner. His power of describing men, manners and places is uncommon and unique.

For several characteristics Johnson glorifies Shakespeare and proclaims him as the poet of nature. 

  • Universal appeal of Shakespeare’s writing.
  • Realistic dialogue in dramas.
  • Authentic art of characterization.
  • No excuse for sentiment
  • No hyperbolic importance of love
  • Humanistic Outlook

Read More: What are the merits of Shakespeare for which Johnson admires him so much?

Mottaleb Hossain
Mottaleb Hossain

This is Motaleb Hossain, working on studying, a researcher on English literature and Theology.

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