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Many of Shakespeare's plays were written to be performed by a specific group of actors, the Lord Chamberlain's Men (later called the King's Men), with the result that several famous roles in different plays might have been performed by the same actor. Shakespeare must have known this when writing his plays, so one might guess that he might have included some lines or parts with specific actors in mind, pandering to their particular abilities.

What evidence is there that Shakespeare actually did this, and to what extent?


The essence of this question was posed as part of an exam at the University of Oxford in 1915, as taken by J.R.R. Tolkien. I found it mentioned here and thought it would actually make an interesting question for this site.

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  • I'm assuming the extensive comic interludes were intended to be played by people with experience of clowning and pratfalls.
    – Valorum
    Jul 9 at 22:26
  • I've often wondered if he wrote any parts for himself
    – mikado
    Jul 10 at 8:13
  • I wouldn't be surprised if it someone discovered that Shakespeare spoke the part of the Hostler in Henry IV, part one. Reportedly, Shakespeare, also played Hamlet's ghost. It is an interesting question, but I would be at a loss to point to actual evidence. Jul 18 at 5:36

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