...by so much as he acts the better part.


Senior Member

I have trouble with the meaning of the underlined part. Could you help me?


-A hypocrite is the worst kind of player, by so much as he acts the better part, which hath always two faces, ofttimes two hearts;...

THE HYPOCRITE; Joseph Hall (1574-1656)
  • Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    "By so much" indicates the measure by which he evaluates people.
    By "acts the better part" he means "acts seriously", maintaining a serious face even when they feel happy.

    This may be confusing because Hall is speaking from a religious perspective, using a card game as a metaphor. In a real card game maintaining a poker face is a virtue.
    Anyone who thinks a poker face indicates "the worst kind of player" (as opposed to "the best") would lose at such games.
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