The SHAKESPEARE TAROT

V. DRAMATIS PERSONAE

 The characters that comprise the Shakespeare Tarot are drawn from the literary kingdom of William Shakespeare's written works. These in turn were drawn from historical chronicles such as Holinshed and Froissart, classical writing such as Ovid and Boccaccio, contemporaneous writers such as Lodge and Greene, as well as the author's own experience and imagination. It's this last source that's most salient when considering the Shakespeare Tarot's Dramatis Personae, since none of the characters in the Shakespeare's oeuvre remained untempered by the author. So, too, each ST card embodies and betokens the characteristics of its respective characters.

 All the ST world's a stage, and all the cards merely players. As every character is portrayed by an actor - even if only in the theater of our mind - and a character may call to mind a person from real life - be it Lord Burghley or our mother - every character remains, at core, a persona. As with The Chariot, the characters Caesar/Polonius/Burghley are the vehicle [char - car, cart, chair, etc.) of the card's act and actor [acter - to enact, to steward, to engrave]. If we see Queen Elizabeth I in The High Priestess card, it is the emblem we see personified and stage managed and not the woman herself. Of course, this is true of vision and all human relations, even those we know intimately. One of the attributes of the deck itself is to glimpse obliquely the essence which remains hidden beneath - her Spirit, as ER called Burghley.

 Unlike the modern disclaimer, in the Shakespeare Tarot, any similarity to persons living or dead is pure. That is to say, a similarity only. A roman à clef of a roman à clef - coincidence and intention, both.