20151031 070552.jpg

William Shakespeare was the leading English playwright and poet in Tudor England.

One viewpoint

Unfortunately Shakespeare was prejudiced, it seems he disliked Jews and women. His well written plays may have encouraged men to treat women badly over the centuries, (The Taming of the Shrew) etc. As well as that Shakespeare encouraged Anti-semitism (The Merchant of Venice). Shakespeare also looked down on poor people.

Alternative viewpoint

Some of Shakespeare's plays cause problems for modern audiences, especially with regard to the treatment of women in Taming of the Shrew and the portrayal of Jews in The Merchant of Venice. Defenders of the former have noted that Shakespeare's Shrew treats women far more humanely than plays with similar plots from that era, and several notable Jewish actors have approached Merchant with an eye to fully humanizing the ambiguous character of Shylock.


Shakespeare was born in Stratford on Avon in the English Midlands but had moved to London when he wrote his plays many of which were performed at a theatre called the Globe Theatre there.


Shakespeare blatantly adapted the work of other authors without making any acknowledgment. This was not dishonest as the concept of intellectual property did not exist yet in Tudor times. Other parts of Shakespeare’s work were brilliantly original. Shakespeare was undoubtedly a highly talented creative writer but his works are compared with more original works written in later centuries. We must remember that later there was a concept of intellectual property and Shakespeare’s style of writing would have been be called plagiarism. Those of us who edit wikis know it’s relatively easy to adapt someone else’s work and create something brilliant. Comparing Shakespeare’s partly original work with completely original works written later may not be reasonable.