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I.

MACBETH.

WHEN I first proposed to myself the undertaking of a Course of Lectures upon the Genius of Shakespeare, my first feeling was, that I could scarcely hope to originate any new theory upon the principal characters in his dramas; for they have been subjected to and have passed the ordeal of the most acute critical intellects of the most civilised nations of the world during more than a century past; and therefore for a while I suspended my intention. But then it occurred to me that the secondary movements, the "subordinate characters" in his plots, have, to a considerable extent, been neglected,— the satellites of the several systems have been merged in the rays of their presiding and controlling suns. Of these "subordinate characters" it became my "hint to speak," according to my homely wit; and I hoped to show passages of beauty that have been either too superficially, even thoughtlessly read, mayhap altogether overlooked, and some delicate points of character that have been undeservedly neglected. I did not, therefore, take up this subject because the principal points in the plays have been treated to repletion, but to make manifest that the secondary ones are rich in nature. and dramatic effect; and, in consequence, upon addressing

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