Professor G. H. Palmer '64 delivered the thirteenth annual Ingersoll lecture on the Immortality of Man in Emerson D, last evening at 8 o'clock.
He chose for his subject "Intimations of Immortality in the Sonnets of Shakespeare." Immortality is divided into three classes, the natural, the ideal, and the spiritual. The natural is that which would seem probable from the processes and laws of nature; the ideal, that which the human brain can imagine as most splendid; and the spiritual, that which is taught by religion.
Shakespeare was not a theological expounder; indeed, it is evident from his works that he did not believe positively in the immortality of the soul. Nevertheless, natural, ideal, and spiritual immortality play a very significant part in his works. Of this Professor Palmer gave examples, which showed that Shakespeare's characters are controlled by the same ideas of a future life that actuate the average person.
It is generally conceded that Shakespeare was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, portrayer of human character that has ever lived. The conclusion to be deduced, therefore, is that the introduction of the idea of immortality into his works was inevitable, because his works are true portrayals of human character, and the conception of immortality is inevitable in human nature.