In the great scene o f the third act o f The Merchant of Venice, Shylock has to come on in a state o f intense rage and grief at the flight o f his daughter. N ow it is obviously a great trial for the actor to ‘strike twelve at once. ’ He is one moment calm in the green-room, and the next he has to appear on the stage with his whole nature in an uproar. Unless he has a very mobile temperament, quick as flame, he cannot begin this scene at the proper state o f white heat. Accordingly, we see actors in general come bawling and gesticulating, but leaving us unmoved because they are not moved themselves. Macready, it is said, used to spend some minutes behind the scenes, lashing himself into an imaginative rage by cursing sotto voce, and shaking violently a ladder fixed against the wall. To bystanders the effect must have been ludicrous. But to the audience the actor presented himself as one really agitated. He had worked himself up to the proper pitch o f excitement which would enable him to express the rage o f Shylock.