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Catalog of the Shakespeare Art Collection  --  Watercolors of Shakespearean Characters 
~ Bastards, Frauds & Tellers of the Truth  ~

 

 

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BASTARDS, FRAUDS AND TELLERS OF THE TRUTH
Illustrated Profiles of Shakespearean Characters
by
Hannah Tompkins

TELLERS OF THE TRUTH
In order of their creation

   
Verges & Dogberry
Beatrice
Feste & Viola
Cassandra
Mistress Overdone
& Pompey

Barnadine
Emilia
Apemantus
Cordelia & Kent
Paulina
   
in Much Ado About Nothing
in Much Ado About Nothing
in Twelfth Night
in Troilus & Cressida

in Measure for Measure
in Measure for Measure
in Othello
in Timon of Athens
in King Lear
in The Winter's Tale
Written in
1599
1599
1600
1602

1603
1603
1604
1605
1606
1610
Shak.Age
35
35
36
38

39
39
40
41
42
46
 

Definition:
To tell the truth: to be upright, honorable, just, sincere, blunt, outspoken, fearless, plain-dealing, constant, steadfast, honest, candid, faithful, forthright and unrestrained.

These qualifications, admirable as they are as human traits, do not by themselves make a truth-teller. A truth-teller simply tells the truths but those endowed with this inclination usually have one or more of the other attributes.

Living in a corrupt world is at best very precarious. Topping the list of dangers are:
1. Thinking
2. Sorting out the truth, and
3. Telling it out loud.

We are conditioned by the social systems to avoid them; and in that order.
In the long ago, Fools and lack-wits, incapable of the first (thinking) were forgiven on the other two counts. Truth has never enjoyed popular currency. It has, in fact, been more like a Cinderella in human society. Yet there are exceptions, like the Prince Charming who will go to great efforts to find her.

Shakespeare is full of thinking people, but they are not necessarily involved with truth-telling. They may be intellectual, brave, intelligent and even villainous.

There are those thinkers who have reached the second plateau, through circumstances tragic and otherwise, but they expire with their knowledge.
The third stage is the toughest. Society would sooner acquit one for obscene exposure than for exposing a truth. The church for example, will forgive commitment of any of the deadly sins, on repentance, but will not tolerate a confession of agnosticism, even by the most honest and virtuous person.

Expressing a truth may be good for one's integrity and self-image, but it sure is hard on one's safety and security. If the latter
are considerations, the best advice is, if you have to tell the truth, be discreet in the dosage.

That Shakespeare may have used these characters for his own voice is a speculation that will keep scholars off the street for some time.
The characters are, therefore, surveyed from my point of view, as reflections of real-life people, that I would like to emulate or maybe like to know.


Copyright © 1982 Hannah Tompkins. All rights reserved.

 

 

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