Can we compare Shakespeare's depiction of "rustic clowns" and Wordsworth's handling of the poor, idiotic, simple-minded characters in Wordsworth's poetry? I just wanted to stress the fact that Shakespeare's plays were blamed for "mingling kings and clowns" by Sir Philip Sidney in his Defence of Poesie. The failure to observe decorum was already too much for some of the most influential poets of his time. So, I don't think Shakespeare's circumstances were comparable to Wordsworth's two centuries later, especially as The Augustan age that preceded Wordsworth's epoch had already endeavoured to give precedence to "the plight of the less fortunate, like the poor, slaves and women..." (cf. Wordsworth enotes).The proponents of Sensibility were charged with sentimentality by Wordsworth but still, their work had preceded his. Even though "noblemen were central" to his theatre and not rustic clowns, (as opposed to Wordsworth, an argument put forward by enotes), Shakespeare did take an interest in the life of the poor, and did so not simply with a view to using them as foils to noblemen.
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