Shakespeare on Facial Expression and Non Verbal Communication

there is a kind of confession in your looks“… there is a kind of confession in your looks which your modesties have not craft enough to colour”
(Hamlet, act 2, sc. 2)

Tips for Use.  We all draw initial impressions and indications from the facial expressions of people we meet. Use the line to effect when your interlocutor seems hesitant in answering a possibly embarrassing question you have posed to him –  (change ‘modesties’ in ‘modesty’). The interpretation of facial expressions is the subject of physiognomy. Johann Kaspar Lavater (15 November 1741 – 2 January 1801) was a Swiss poet and physiognomist, as well as a deacon of the Zwinglian church. Zwingli was a contemporary of Luther.  Lavater’s name would be forgotten but for his work in the field of physiognomy, Physiognomische Fragmente zur Beförderung der Menschenkenntnis und Menschenliebe (1775–1778). Lavater maintained that all mankind’s expressions can be reduced to about 7,000, showing all the character and personality types. The almost 7000 images are all hand-drawn, of course. The two principal sources from which Lavater developed his physiognomical studies were the writings of the Italian Giambattista della Porta and the observations made by Sir Thomas Browne in his Religio Medici. French novelist Honore’ de Balzac extensively consulted Lavater’s massive books for describing  the characters of the Comedie Humane.
You may look at the web-page describing the book “Your Daily Shakespeare”, 1390 pages filled to the brim with over 10,000 situations you may find yourself in or involved with, attuned to the perfect Shakespearean repartee that will get you on the stage or at least out of the water – besides making a winner of any verbal contest. The analytical index is structured so that you can quickly select the best words that fit the situation. You can buy the book on line by  clicking on ‘Book Store’ in the second line of the menu.
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In the Play.  Rosencranz and Guilderstern have been sent by the King to spy on Hamlet and he tells them that he knows

Image Source: http://www.ericpercival.com/rosencrantz.htm

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