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In "The Vampire of the Village" by G. K. Chesterton, an old actor was talking to Father Brown about his old friend, which was killed, saying:

He did not disappear! Maltravers never disappeared! He appeared: he appeared dead and I’ve appeared alive. But where’s all the rest of the company? Where’s that man, that monster, who deliberately stole my lines, crabbed my best scenes and ruined my career? I was the finest Tubal that ever trod the boards. He acted Shylock — he didn’t need to act much for that! And so with the greatest opportunity of my whole career. I could show you press-cuttings on my renderings of Fortinbras —

I can't get what's meant by "act much for that" and "And so with"?

Does it mean "he didn't need to act much to get that role" "nor the greatest ..."?

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    The "for that" means for the purpose of portraying Shylock, and the "didn't need to act much" implies that the actor in real life is quite similar to the character on stage -- instead of acting with real skill, he didn't need to do much more than simply be himself. Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 20:42
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    I wonder if "And so with..." means the same as "And so much for the greatest opportunity of my whole career", meaning his great opportunity was ruined by the events. Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 20:49

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Shylock is a character in a play that could be described as a person who is ruthless and greedy and dishonest. The statement that "he didn’t need to act much for that!" just means that the man they were talking about was so horrible a person, that not much acting would have been necessary to portray just that kind of a person.

"And so with the greatest opportunity of my whole career." merely continues the rant against the actor portraying Shylock. It implies that this actor did in the speaker's career by being ruthless, greedy and dishonest. "And so with" in this context means "He did the same with". It could have been stated "He ruined my opportunity in exactly the same way as he had in the past"

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  • So he ruined two opportunities of the speaker? Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 21:07
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    Yes, that is what is implied. "He also" did thus and so would be another way of approximating the meaning of "And so with". It means that something happened, and it happened in the same way again.
    – Msfolly
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 21:10
  • Thank you so much Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 22:06

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