Shakespeare lived in the Age of Humanism and shared its basic optimism and good will toward human nature. Here we note that the evil that takes place in Shakespeare's plays is usually the result of villains described as unnatural and who frequently acknowledge having an unnatural bent. There are, to be sure, "honorable" men like Brutus in Julius Caesar who go astray, but for the most part, the bad characters are portrayed as abnormally perverse. Outside of the tragedies, Shakespeare plainly takes humorous shots at misanthropic characters like Jaques in As You Like It and Malvolio in...
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