What did Shakespeare look like?

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What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  eddie on Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:17 pm

Nash's thread from the old ATU site has sadly expired and I can't trace the bizarre vid clip with which she kicked things off.

Instead, there follows a series of painterly speculations about what WS actually looked like:



The Chandos portrait. This portrait is attributed to John Taylor, and dated to about 1610. In 2006, the National Portrait Gallery, published a report authored by Tarnya Cooper saying it is the only painting with any real claim to have been done from the life. The Cobbe portrait had not been discovered at that time, but Cooper has since confirmed her opinion. The name arose as it was once in the possession of the Duke of Chandos.

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  eddie on Sun May 29, 2011 8:21 am



The Cobbe portrait: In 2009, Stanley Wells and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust announced that they believe this painting, which has been in the possession of the Cobbe family since the early 18th century, is a portrait of Shakespeare drawn from life. The portrait is thought to have belonged initially to Shakespeare's patron, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, and to have been copied by another artist who created the painting known as the Janssen portrait, which had already been claimed to depict Shakespeare.[7][8][9][10] Tarnya Cooper, the 17th century art specialist at the National Portrait Gallery, argues that both paintings depict Thomas Overbury.

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  eddie on Sun May 29, 2011 8:24 am



The Grafton Portrait by an unknown artist of a man whose age, like Shakespeare's, was 24 in 1588. Otherwise there is no reason to believe it is Shakespeare except for a certain compatibility with the faces of other leading contenders. It belongs to the John Rylands University Library Manchester.

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  eddie on Sun May 29, 2011 8:27 am



A Man Clasping a Hand from a Cloud, by Nicholas Hilliard dated 1588. This was identified as Shakespeare by Leslie Hotson in his book Shakespeare by Hilliard (1977). Skeptical scholars believe this is unlikely. Roy Strong suggested that it is Lord Thomas Howard, first Earl of Suffolk. (National Portrait Gallery, London).

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  eddie on Sun May 29, 2011 8:29 am



The Sanders portrait. This has a label attached identifying it as Shakespeare and stating that it was painted in 1603. New scientific tests on the label and the oak panel suggest that it dates to Shakespeare's lifetime,[14] which, if true, would make this a likely authentic image of Shakespeare. It is attributed by a family tradition to one John Sanders or possibly his brother Thomas.[15] The identification has been queried on the grounds that the subject appears to be too young for the 39 year old Shakespeare in 1603 and that the 23rd April birth date on the label reflects the conventional date adopted in the 18th century, which is not certain to be accurate.[7] The inscription on the label "This likeness taken" has been criticised as not a contemporary formulation.

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  eddie on Sun May 29, 2011 8:32 am



The Zuccari portrait. A life-size oval portrait painted on a wooden panel. This was owned by Richard Cosway, who attributed it to Federico Zuccari, an artist who was contemporary with Shakespeare. It is no longer attributed to him, nor is there any evidence to identify it as Shakespeare, however it was probably painted during his lifetime and may depict a poet.

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  eddie on Sun May 29, 2011 8:39 am



The Chess Players attributed to Karel van Mander. This was identified in 1916 as an image of Ben Jonson and Shakespeare playing chess. Most scholars consider this to be pure speculation, but the claim was revived in 2004 by Jeffrey Netto, who argued that the chess game symbolises "the well known professional rivalry between these figures in terms of a battle of wits".

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  pinhedz on Sun May 29, 2011 8:39 am


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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  eddie on Sun May 29, 2011 8:43 am



Droeshout print. An engraving by Martin Droeshout as frontispiece to the collected works of Shakespeare (the First Folio), printed in 1622 and published in 1623. An introductory poem in the First Folio, by Ben Jonson, implies that it is a very good likeness.

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  eddie on Sun May 29, 2011 8:49 am


"Self-satisfied pork butcher" look fron the funerary monument at Holy Trinity church, Stratford-Upon-Aven.

The bust in Shakespeare's funerary monument, in the choir of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-on-Avon. This half-length statue on his memorial must have been erected within six years after Shakespeare’s death in 1616. It is believed to have been commissioned by the poet’s son-in-law, Dr John Hall, and must have been seen by Shakespeare's widow Anne. It is believed that the bust was made by the Flemish artist Gerard Johnson.

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  eddie on Sun May 29, 2011 8:53 am


The Soest portrait painted 20 years after WS's death.

The Soest Portrait, probably painted by Gerard Soest. The painting was first described by George Vertue, who attributed it to Peter Lely and stated that it was painted from a man who was said to look like Shakespeare. It was owned by Thomas Wright of Covent Garden in 1725 when it was engraved by John Simon and attributed to Soest. It was probably painted in the late 1660s, after the Restoration permitted the reopening of the London theatres.

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  Lee Van Queef on Sun May 29, 2011 8:57 am

pinhedz wrote:

That's Bassanio you nitwit.

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  eddie on Sun May 29, 2011 8:58 am



By the mid-18th century the demand for portraits of Shakespeare led to several claims regarding surviving 17th century paintings, some of which were altered to make them conform more closely to Shakespeare's features. The Janssen portrait was overpainted, receding the hairline and adding an inscription with an age and date to fit Shakespeare's life. This was done before 1770, making it the "earliest proven example of a genuine portrait altered to look like Shakespeare."

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  eddie on Sun May 29, 2011 9:02 am



The Flower portrait, named for its owner, Sir Desmond Flower, who donated it to the Shakespeare Museum in 1911. This was once thought to be the earliest painting depicting Shakespeare, and the model for the Droeshout engraving. It was shown in a 2005 National Portrait Gallery investigation to be a 19th century fake adapted from the engraving. The image of Shakespeare was painted over an authentic 16th century painting of a Madonna and child.

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  eddie on Sun May 29, 2011 9:07 am



A detail of Henry Wallis's 1857 painting depicting Gerard Johnson carving the Stratford monument, while Ben Jonson shows him the Kesselstadt death mask.

In 1849 a death mask was made public by a German librarian, Ludwig Becker, who linked it to a painting which, he claimed, depicted Shakespeare and resembled the mask. The mask, known as the "Kesselstadt death mask" was given publicity when it was declared authentic by the scientist Richard Owen, who also claimed that the Stratford memorial was based on it.[26] The artist Henry Wallis painted a picture depicting the sculptor working on the monument while looking at the mask. The sculptor Lord Ronald Gower also believed in the authenticity of the mask. When he created the large public Shakespeare statue in Stratford in 1888, he based the facial features on it. He also attempted to buy it for the nation. The mask is now generally believed to be a fake, though its authenticity claim was revived in 1998.

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  eddie on Sun May 29, 2011 9:10 am



A stylised version of the Droeshout portrait in the brickwork of a house in Stratford Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne.

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  pinhedz on Sun May 29, 2011 9:30 am

Lane Coutell wrote:
pinhedz wrote:

That's Bassanio you nitwit.
Bassanio never held a pen. bounce

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  eddie on Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:35 am

In search of Shakespeare's ghosts

Shakespeare enthusiasts in Yorkshire are paying increasing attention to the ghostly figures who haunted his life, as guest blogger Martin Hickes discovers...


William Shakespeare: Ghostly halo of characters are purported to have influenced his life

As the summer season of Shakespeare plays enters full swing, new light is being shed on the deepening mystery of the Shakespearean 'fringe'.

Almost four hundred years after the death of the 'master writer', scholars and Shakespeare enthusiasts in Yorkshire are paying increasing attention to the ghostly figures who haunted Shakespeare's life - and key to them might be a tantalising glimpse of the so-called 'Dark Lady' of his famous sonnets.

The contention over the authorship of Shakespeare's plays is well known. Some academics and theatre lovers down the years have long contended that the greatest works in literature could not have been penned solely by the son of a gentlemen glover from Stratford.

Various rival suggested authors have included fellow playwright Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, the Earls of Oxford and Derby, Francis Bacon and even a spurious suggestion that Elizabeth I might have influenced 'bardoltry'.

Ghostly halo of characters

But beyond such arguments lie a ghostly halo of characters, which are purported to have influenced Shakespeare's life.

And thanks to a new twist in the detective story, enter stage right a new candidate - a ghostly rival to Shakespeare's wife Anne Hathaway who just might just have been the 'dark lady' of his famous sonnets.

Anne Hathaway, a moniker now famous under another guise, was much older than Will, and some say the subject of a so-called 'shotgun' marriage.

The mother of three children to Shakespeare, Anne married William in 1582 and though she outlived Will Shakespeare by seven years, very little is known about her beyond a few references in legal documents.

Many have speculated for years that the marriage might not have been harmonious – Shakespeare left her his 'second best bed' in his will (though this might not have been a sign of disrespect) – and he spent much time away, in London, from the family home.

Thus enter the mysterious Anne Whateley, increasingly the focus of academic and pseudo speculation, who has been alleged to have been the intended wife of William Shakespeare before he married Anne H.

Merely a clerical error?

Most scholars believe that Whateley never existed, and that her name in a document concerning Shakespeare's marriage is merely a clerical error.

However several writers on Shakespeare have taken the view that she was a real rival to Hathaway for Shakespeare's hand – and that the 'tug of love' between the three might have played a part in his writings.

She has also appeared in imaginative literature on Shakespeare and in Shakespeare authorship speculations, while others have suggested she is the shadowy figure of the 'dark' lady, infamous in Shakespeare's sonnets.

Shakespeare's biographer Russell A. Fraser describes her as "a ghost", "haunting the edges of Shakespeare's story".

And in the best fashion of a Shakespeare romance itself, her existence has been deduced from an entry in an Episcopal register at Worcester, which states in Latin:

"Anno Domini 1582...Novembris...27 die eiusdem mensis. Item eodem die supradicto emanavit Licentia inter Wm Shaxpere et Annam Whateley de Temple Grafton."

The entry states that a marriage licence was issued to Shakespeare and Anne Whateley "to marry in the village of Temple Grafton". The entry in the register was discovered in the late nineteenth century by Reverend TP Wadley.

Hathaway herself was from Shottery, four miles away from Temple Grafton.

Various explanations have since been offered. Initially it was assumed that Whateley was an alternative surname for Anne Hathaway herself.

'Probably an alias'

Wadley believed that it was probably an alias, used by Hathaway in order to keep the date of the marriage secret to obscure the fact that she was already pregnant.

Another suggestion was that Anne Hathaway might legitimately have used the name, either because her father Richard Hathaway was in fact her step-father, her mother having previously been married to a man called Whateley, or because Anne herself may have previously been married to a man named Whateley.

But tantalisingly other biographers, notably Ivor Brown and Anthony Burgess, have portrayed Whateley as Shakespeare's true love.

In 1970 Burgess wrote:

"It is reasonable to believe that Will wished to marry a girl named Anne Whateley. The name is common enough in the Midlands and ….her father may have been a friend of John Shakespeare's.

"But why, attempting to marry Anne Whateley, had he put himself in the position of having to marry the other Anne? I suggest that, to use the crude but convenient properties of the old women's-magazine morality-stories, he was exercised by love for the one and lust for the other."

According to Stanley Wells in the Oxford Companion to Shakespeare, most modern scholars take view that Whateley was "almost certainly the result of clerical error".

Though there was a Whateley family in the area, no independent evidence has ever been found of the existence of an Anne Whateley in Temple Grafton or anywhere else nearby.

'Lover and consort'

But a counter argument is made by William Ross in his book The Story of Anne Whateley and William Shaxpere (1939). In such, Ross claims Whateley was a nun who was his "lover and consort in their spiritual union".

Living a secluded life among the nuns of the Order of St. Clare when she met Shakespeare, they are purported to have fallen in love; Anne W was about to leave the order to marry him when Hathaway revealed her pregnancy.

Ross argues her authorship can be deduced from the sonnets, which she wrote as 'gifts to Shakespeare' and in which are described the history of her spiritual relationship with him.

Again according to Ross, Hathaway is the 'Dark Lady' of the sonnets, while Shakespeare himself is the Fair Youth.

Their intimate friendship is purported to have continued after his marriage to Hathaway with its deepening spirituality being explored in the later sonnets.

Eventually, the counter claim suggests, the friendship was broken up by Hathaway's jealousy, and Shakespeare left for London. It alleges she wrote 'A Lover's Complaint', which was appended to the sonnets, to express Anne Hathaway's point of view.

Ross's speculations were developed by his friend WJ Fraser Hutcheson in his book 'Shakespeare's Other Anne (1950).

'In a rush to marry'

It seems the more likely explanation is that Anne H and Shakespeare were in a rush to marry, and rather than wait for three marriage banns to be read over consecutive weeks, they received a special licence from the Bishop of Worcester.

The entry on 27th November 1582 refers to the marriage of "Wm Shaxpere et Annam Whateley de Temple Grafton" - while the entry on 28th November 1582 refers to the marriage of "William Shagspeare and Anne Hathwey".

Notwithstanding the fact that two pairs of entirely different people might have been involved, most academics now suspect a clerical error, rather than subterfuge.

Professor Lisa Hopkins from Sheffield Hallam University, is of the opinion that a writing error is most likely. She says:

"Weird as it may seem, 'Whateley' is actually not that strange as a transcription/pronunciation error for 'Hathaway' and in many cases when recording names, errors are made by vicars and others in official documents, as I have discovered through my own research.

"Many readers will know of Sonnet 145 in which Shakespeare seemingly makes a deliberate pun on the name Hathaway in his lines. 'Where hate from hateaway she threw' is usually taken to be a pun on Anne Hathaway's name and hence an indication of how it was probably pronounced. It's likely to be a transcription error because if 'hate away' in sonnet 145 is, as suggested, a pun on 'Hathaway', then the two names would sound similar when spoken."

Mysterious figures

Prof Francis O'Gorman, from the University of Leeds, is fascinated by the idea of the real and imagined on the edges of writers' biographies. He says:

"Mysterious figures about whom little for certain is known haunt the biographies of great writers. The Whateley case is extreme because she almost certainly never existed. But we know the Victorian poet Algernon Charles Swinburne had a "lost love", a woman whom he wanted to marry but never did. We are pretty sure she existed, but not entirely certain who she was.

"The possible secret wife of the poet Andrew Marvell, and the possible lovers of the novelist Emily Brontë—a writer about whom we know almost nothing definite—are others. These are intriguing, compelling, puzzles."

US author Karen Harper, writer of the forthcoming novel Shakespeare's Mistress, says the possibility of there being two 'Annes' has long intrigued her.
She says:

"Although I write fiction, the more I researched the Bard's life, the more I became convinced that Anne W. could have existed and been "his London wife". Especially interesting is Shakespeare's leaving of the Blackfriars Gatehouse to someone not his wife, nor did he want it sold.

"I think that's more telling than the oft quoted "second best bed" in the will. Also, Shakespeare's "cursed be he that moves my bones" quote on his tombstone, I think, means he did not want to be moved to be buried with Anne H."

Karen Harper's novel will be published by Random House in the UK this autumn.

Anne Hathaway died some seven years after William Shakespeare.

Prof Hopkins is the Co-editor of Shakespeare at www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/17450918.asp

Guest blogger Martin Hickes is a Leeds-based freelance journalist, publicist and writer.

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Re: What did Shakespeare look like?

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:12 pm

Bard labour: Patrick Stewart and Simon Callow tackle Shakespeare the man

What kind of a man was Shakespeare? A cold husband and a cruel father – or quite the party man? Patrick Stewart and Simon Callow recreate his life in two very different productions

Andrew Dickson

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 29 February 2012 21.31 GMT


Bard to the bone … Patrick Stewart and Simon Callow. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

'I've always thought," says Simon Callow ruminatively, "that Shakespeare was the kind of guy who goes to a party, nurses one glass, says nothing, and goes home with the prettiest girl in the room."

I imagine 1,000 biographers keeling over in horror. But Callow isn't joking. His new one-man show, which debuted last year in Edinburgh and is about to open at Trafalgar Studios in London, brings audiences face to face with the middle-class Midlands boy who grew up to be the world's most famous writer. The title is serious enough: it's called Being Shakespeare.

There is, however, a rival Bard in town. At the Young Vic, Patrick Stewart is reviving his performance as the playwright in Edward Bond's 1973 play Bingo – a revival that one critic praised for its "truly Shakespearian greatness". The Bardic battle is on: if they feel so inclined, Londoners will be able to do a direct compare-and-contrast.

Fictional representations of Shakespeare aren't unfamiliar: Anthony Burgess's 1964 novel Nothing Like the Sun spun a fantastical retelling of Shakespeare's love life, while the last story Rudyard Kipling ever wrote, Proofs of Holy Writ, worked up the eccentric theory that Shakespeare and Ben Jonson did an emergency rewrite of the King James Bible. Then, of course, there was 1998's Shakespeare in Love, which made an entire generation of moviegoers want to investigate Joseph Fiennes's codpiece.

When we meet at the Young Vic, however, Callow and Stewart emphasise they're not in competition, not least because the works are so different. Callow's piece, deftly scripted by Jonathan Bate, mingles biographical snippets with historical snapshots; and, although Callow describes Shakespeare and speaks his words, he never plays him directly. He explains: "We ask what it was like to be an Elizabethan baby, an Elizabethan schoolboy, a solider and so on, and then tried to connect that to what we know about Shakespeare's life. It's a sort of prism through which to view him."

Bond's play, by contrast, goes the whole counterfactual hog. Subtitled "scenes of money and death", Bingo imagines what life might have been like at the grand pile – the second largest house in Stratford – Shakespeare retired to a few years before his death in 1616. There's little domestic bliss: the poet is irascible, distant, heedlessly cruel to his family. "You speak so badly," he snaps at his daughter Judith. "Such banalities. So stale and ugly." He's haunted by the sense that his life has been worthless, and haunted, too, by the works he has written. Near the end, he collapses drunkenly in the snow like a pitiable, pint-sized King Lear.

Bond's point is clear: while Shakespeare may have been unrivalled as an observer of the human condition, the truth might be that he – like many artists – wasn't especially humane himself. Tantalisingly, that theory is supported by an event that has given biographers much pause. In the early 1600s, Stratford's property magnates were attempting to enclose their land, turfing labourers and smallholders off fields where they had lived and worked for centuries. As a landowner, Shakespeare would likely have gained from this. Although his actual intentions are unclear, he was undeniably a hard-headed, self-made businessman, a serial tax-dodger who sent lawyers after people who owed him money; he even bought a coat of arms to burnish his social status.

Stewart admits it's a paradox, given that his plays show keen sympathy for the dispossessed, whether it's King Lear on the heath or the starving rioters in Coriolanus. "At the beginning of Bingo, you see Shakespeare reading a document and you assume it's a sonnet or something. Actually, it's a list of the landowners' demands. The document exists. And this is the same man who wrote Lear." So should we get used to the idea that he wasn't exactly a nice guy? "A nice man, no. It would seem a selfish man."

Perhaps. Although it isn't quite true that everything we know about Shakespeare could be scribbled on the back of a postcard (there is, in fact, a hillock of documents), even seasoned biographers would admit there isn't much that gives a clue to his personality: no personal letters, and just some fragments of what may be his handwriting in a few speeches contributed to the otherwise unremarkable (and in the end unperformed) multi-authored play Sir Thomas More. Perhaps fittingly, on the rare occasion when we do glimpse Shakespeare in real life, such as when he testified in a 1612 court case involving his tight-fisted French landlord and a missing dowry, the impression is so vague as to be near indecipherable.

Stewart, who has played Shakespearian roles for nearly half a century, says it's no surprise people turn to the plays and poems for answers. "I know who this man was," he reflects, "but that comes from the words, the language, the verse, the characters he created." Callow takes a more intuitive approach: "I have the feeling that if you sat down with him, you would find yourself saying more than you ever meant to say." How so? "If you look at the work, Shakespeare is like a sponge, absorbing everything. Conversation with him would be like therapy."

Naturally, this hasn't stopped biographers attempting to psychoanalyse him back – especially when it comes to the question of what he got up to in bed. Although generations of scholars were happy to assume Shakespeare was straight (Oxford don AL Rowse once red-bloodedly proclaimed the Bard was thrilled by "the frou-frou of skirts"), recent biographers have suggested his sexuality was, to put it mildly, an open question. Not only do many of the plays tease away at the multiple mysteries of desire – as do the Sonnets, many of which appear to be addressed to a young man – it's hard to deny that Shakespeare's marital arrangements were unusual. He left his wife Anne soon after their twins were born in 1585, and returned home only sporadically thereafter; the suspicion that the marriage was loveless is perhaps confirmed by that notorious injunction that Anne should get the "second-best bed" in his will. Like most things in Shakespearean biography, though, this could also be interpreted the other way, as Carol Ann Duffy beautifully has it in her poem Anne Hathaway: that he wanted her to have the marriage bed, the best being reserved for guests.

"In Bingo," says Stewart, "we never see Anne, we hear her. Shakespeare is monosyllabic about her. People ask how she is and he says, 'Much the same.' It's a picture of a house that's been unhappy for decades." Callow disagrees: "Our view is that he discovered himself sexually with Anne. Of course, that doesn't guarantee a happy marriage. But I've never had this feeling that she was an insignificant person to him."

I wonder if we bring our own emotional baggage to bear on Shakespeare? Stewart laughs. "I remember going to an event after a performance and two separate people came up to me saying, 'That's not him!'" He shrugs. "Everyone has their own Shakespeare." Callow nods. "That's why I think it's important that people make plays or films about him. I'm sure Shakespeare wasn't as handsome as Joseph Fiennes, but Shakespeare in Love was great because it gave us the idea of this man having an ordinary life, having ordinary problems and difficulties. He wasn't just a bust out of which speeches come like a ticker-tape machine."

There's one thing they do agree on, though: contrary to the conspiracy theories, Shakespeare was definitely Shakespeare, not the Earl of Oxford or Francis Bacon. "It seems so unnecessary to go down that route," Callow splutters. "It's so clear that his is the work of a working writer who dealt with the common problems of life." Stewart shakes his head. "All the reasons that people give that Shakespeare could not have written Shakespeare are, for me, reasons why it has to be him."

So who'll be the better bard? Callow roars with laughter. "Not really a fair comparison. I'm not playing Shakespeare, like Patrick is. I'm just stalking him."

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