Dalrymple has written frequently of the greatness of Shakespeare, both to praise the timeless truth and beauty of his work and to compare it to what he contends is the more naive and credulous outlook of others. He returns to that theme in a new essay in the Telegraph, where, for example, he compares Shakespeare to his son-in-law:
The playwright’s clinical observations are astonishingly accurate, especially when compared with those of his son-in-law, Dr John Hall, who saw his patients through the misleading lens of the humoral theory that he had been taught. His only book… is of antiquarian interest only, its prescriptions hardly distinguishable from the ingredients of the witches’ cauldron in Macbeth.By contrast, there is barely a Shakespeare play that cannot arrest a doctor’s attention. It is not just that he describes things accurately from a physiological point of view; he seems to know what it is like to feel them as well, and how to make us feel them, too.
Dalrymple has made this comparison before as a way of illustrating the difference between unbiased observation and dogmatic adherence to academic theory.