Mirror Of Life Analysis

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Johnson’s sentence “he that peruses Shakespeare, looks round alarmed, and starts to find himself alone” encapsulates Johnson’s experience of reading Shakespeare. In his “Preface to Shakespeare,” Johnson compares Shakespeare’s plays to “the mirror of life” (Brady 303). As Johnson says, “the end of writing is to instruct” (Brady 304). A mirror is not intrinsically edifying. Hence, Shakespeare’s plays would not be of any educational value, if readers do not extract some meaning out of this reflection of life. It is important to note that, when one sees a mirror, one sees nothing but himself. As Johnson notes, “Shakespeare has no heroes; his senses are occupied only by men, who act and speak as the reader thinks that he should himself have spoken or acted on the same occasion” (Brady 302). …show more content…
Shakespeare’s characters are the mirror images of readers. Every reader sees a character differently, because it is ultimately himself that he sees in a character. If Shakespeare’s play is a mirror of life, the kind of life one sees in Shakespeare’s life is intrinsically projection of one’s own value. In the class on Thomas Gray, Professor Fix says “great literature speaks what has already been spoken in our souls.” I would like to change this nicely said sentence a little bit: we can only hear in great literature what has already been spoken in our souls. Rather than great literature dictates the lesson to readers, it is the readers who extract meanings out the text. In this sense, a great writer is made by a great

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