Should we really care for the greatest actors of the past could we have them before us? Should we find them too different from our accent of thought, of feeling, of speech, in a thousand minute particulars which are of the essence of all three? Dr. Doran’s long and interesting records of the triumphs of Garrick, and other less familiar, but in their day hardly less astonishing, players, do not relieve one of the doubt. Garrick himself, as sometimes happens with people who have been the subject of much anecdote and other conversation, here as elsewhere, bears no very distinct figure. One hardly sees the wood for the trees. On the other hand, the account of Betterton, “perhaps the greatest of English actors,” is delightfully fresh. That intimate friend of Dryden, Tillatson, Pope, who executed a copy of the actor’s portrait by Kneller which is still extant, was worthy of their friendship; his career brings out the best elements in stage life. The stage in these volumes presents itself indeed not merely as a mirror of life, but as an illustration of the utmost intensity of life, in the fortunes and characters of the players. Ups and downs, generosity, dark fates, the most delicate goodness, have nowhere been more prominent than in the private existence of those devoted to the public mimicry of men and women. Contact with the stage, almost throughout its history, presents itself as a kind of touchstone, to bring out the bizarrerie, the theatrical tricks and contrasts, of the actual world.
In the expression “One hardly sees the wood for the trees”, the author apparently intends the word trees to be analogous to
The “wood” refers to the bigger picture, the “trees” to the details. One apparently does not get a picture of Garrick the man, but one does get along and interesting record of his triumphs. We are also told that Garrick has been the subject of much conversation and anecdote. Hence the “trees” refers to the details of Garrick’s life learned mainly from oral sources.
The doubt referred to in line 7 concerns whether
“Should we care for the greatest actors” means “should we like them”. The author goes on to ask whether we would find their ways and ideas too different from our own. These are the doubts that he raises. The author is not really concerned whether we would like their acting. Hence, A is the best answer.
Information supplied in the passage is sufficient to answer which of the following questions?
(Select ALL answer choices that apply)
A. Who did Doran think was probably the best English actor?
B. What did Doran think of Garrick?
C. Would the author give a definite answer to the first question posed in the passage?
Correct Answer: A,C
The quotation marks around “perhaps the greatest of English actors,” tell us that the author is quoting from the book he is reviewing, and hence the author of that book, Doran, thinks Betterton was probably the best. Doran writes “long and interesting records of the triumphs of Garrick” but we cannot infer Doran’s opinion of the actor from that. The author would not give a definite answer to the question because he says the writings of Doran “do not relieve one of the doubt”. We can answer question A with the word “Betterton” and question C with the word “no”.