‘Not fit to tie his brogues’
Shakespeare and Scott
in Shakespeare and Scotland
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In 1827, Sir Walter Scott disclosed his identity as the author of Waverley. Scott initially casts himself as Macbeth, which, although natural enough at first sight, contains some ambivalence. Macbeth, representing an unlawful succession and ruthless ambition, is in direct conflict with the legitimate and about-to-return Prospero. John Gibson Lockhart reports Scott acknowledging that 'the greatest success' any follower of William Shakespeare could achieve 'would be but a spiritless imitation, or, at best, what the Italians call a centone from Shakespeare'. Shakespeare throughout Scott exists as both an authority and a resource, for both characters and narrator. As a critic, Scott's major treatment of Shakespeare appears in 'The Life of John Dryden', the 'Essay on the Drama', and the 'Life of Kemble'. Scott's most significant tackling of Shakespeare took place within his novels. This occurs most startlingly in Kenilworth. Shakespeare appears as the ghostly trace of a quotation from Macbeth.

Editors: Willy Maley and Andrew Murphy


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