Patmore's essay follows the nineteenth century critical tradition of treating Shakespeare's characters as fully realized human beings with thoughts and motives. However, unlike most Shakespearean criticism of the period, Patmore privileges the overall moral perspective of Shakespeare as playwright over the individual moral perspectives represented by his characters. [For more information on nineteenth century critical treatments of Shakespeare, see Robert Langbaum, The Poetry of Experience (New York: Random, 1957): 160-82.] Other than Schlegel and Coleridge, whom Patmore mentions in his essay, other major Shakespeare critics roughly contemporary to Patmore include William Hazlitt, Charles Lamb, and Hermann Ulrici, whose Shakespeare's Dramatic Art (1846) strongly influenced the young Patmore. For a more general survey of Patmore's thoughts on Shakespeare, including a discussion of Macbeth see Patmore's article "Shakespere" in the November 1849 issue of North British Review, pp. 62-76.