What Did Arnold Say About Shakespeare In His Poem His Poem?


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Arnold pays homage to Shakespeare as a great genius, great poet, great thinker and great man. Arnold says that other writers and thinkers answer our questions about life. But Shakespeare avoids whenever we put him some questions. He just smiles and becomes silent. It means that a great artist, like Shakespeare, depicts life as it is withal its mysteries, complexities and contradictions. He does not draw any conclusions and does not make any hard and fast formulas about life. Life is different from logic and Mathematics where every question has a direct and definite answer. But, in life, it is not so. The nature of life is too relative to allow this.

The same thing may have different meanings for different people under different circumstances. So, life is neither sad nor happy, neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong and neither easy nor difficult. It is all these things at one and the same time. That is why fools are quick to question and quick to answer. Wise people are slow in both.
Arnold believes that nobody has ever been able to measure Shakespeare's greatness. He was like a lofty hill planted deep in the sea, with its high peak kissing the sky. That is why nobody could ever evaluate the heights and depths of his thought. Shakespeare knew all about human nature and human destiny. But all his knowledge was innate, inborn and ingrained. He did not get it from books or from any educational institution because he had no formal schooling. He could not get his due honour and recognition during his life-time. He knew his own worth. He was too self-respecting to run after worldly honour and fame. He was honest and fearless. He fears no oppositions and enmities. He was quite safe and secure in his own self.
During his life-time, Shakespeare lived on this earth just like a common man without attracting any special attention of anybody. Arnold says that it was good that nobody knew his real genius, otherwise he would have to face the enmities and rivalries of many foolish people as great men or genius usually have to face.

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