"This paper is alive with sympathetic insight into Shakespeare"

I don't quite understand what sympathetic is supposed to mean in this context. I had initially thought it meant 'favorable' but that seems a little off as I interpret true insight to be objective. I settled on interpreting sympathetic to be similar to 'sensitive' or 'nuanced' but I wasn't ultimately sure.


2 Answers 2


All of the above (favorable, sensitive, and nuanced), I would say. I suspect the author might be slightly disagreeing with you about the objectivity of insight.


'sympathetic' means 'feeling with' and is more than just 'favorable' but rather it connotes feeling in a similar way to another person due to a connection one feels with that person with a hint of agreement with their position, as in someone who is sympathetic to a given cause. I'm not sure on what basis you posit that 'true insight' is objective in nature, however, but that isn't the question.

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