Ben Jonson is far inferior of Shakespeare in his art of characterization:
1. His characters are all drawn from the lower strata of society. We miss in his comedies the refined and brilliant characters drawn from the upper classes such as we find in a Shakespearean comedy. Shakespeare draws his characters both from the upper and the lower classes, and in this way his plays are more realistic and life-like.
2. Ben Jonson’s characters are flat. They do not change and grow psychologically, as do the characters of Shakespeare.
3. Ben’s characters are simple; they are not the many-sided personalities of a Shakespearean comedy.
4. Ben’s dramatic personages have meaning and significance only in the situation in which they are placed. They cannot be appreciated out of their respective situations. There might be some exceptions, as Brainworm and Bobadill, but as a general rule his characters do not have a personality apart from the stage. Shakespeare’s characters are not hampered in this way.
5. Ben Jonson could not draw convincing female characters; but a number of brilliant, beautiful, glittering heroines dance across the stage of a Shakespearean comedy. We have only to call to mind Viola, Rosalind, Beatrice, Portia, etc., to realize Ben’s inferiority in the respect.