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Shakespeare

I’ve never been convinced by the scene in TWELTH NIGHT when Malvolio forces himself to smile, even though I saw Derek Jacobi do it so well in the West End recently.

It’s always seemed to me to be improbable that someone – anyone – wouldn’t instinctively know how to smile. But as always, whenever you doubt the Bard’s genius for understanding human behaviour, he proves you wrong.

Gordon Brown’s appearance on Youtube to announce his new expenses proposal for Parliament is extraordinary. Here is a man who doesn’t know how to smile – doesn’t know what smiling means – doesn’t understand when it is appropriate. He smiles – and smiles – and looks totally bonkers. Even Sir Derek couldn’t do it better.

Did Shakespeare know someone like Brown in Elizabethan times? My bet is that he did.

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