Hello my fellow page turners and wordsmiths,

I am aware that this is probably a bit of a controversial stance, but, I really don’t like a lot of his plays. I have always struggled with the language of classics and Shakespeare is at the pinnacle of my struggle. The language used can be very confusing, and the material itself although original at the time is heavily cliche’d and in quite a few cases boring and un-engaging.

The Chandos portrait (held by the National Portrait Gallery, London)

The way I see Shakespeare was more of a businessman than an artist. He only did what was the most popular and well received at the time. However, I will admit, that he was a very clever man, as he was smart enough to slide his personal remarks and comments into his work in a subtle manner, and these views were often those that people of the time would not have accepted. For example he ridiculed racism, dogmatism and societal evils. 

However despite this his plays remained popular due to their humor and simple plots. 

The humour that he used in his plays was more low brow to match with the views and sensibilities of the lower classes. The Lower classes bought the cheapest tickets and for the most part sat on the ground in his theatre. As the lower classes came in droves to see his plays, they were often packed out and word of these magnificent plays spread quickly through the general populous. This boosted his popularity in the middle classes and ensured a guaranteed steady income creating a demand that attracted more of those of a higher station.

Once his popularity had grown he handled himself with all the expertise of a modern day politician/lawyer, greasing palms with the upper echelons with ease, and had a keen sense of when to bow to the whims of royalty and those in a higher standing. He also frequently partook in gossip to further his standing.

In respect to his writing ability I feel that in some instances this was borrowed from other sources, as I said previously he was a very clever man. For example the poetic form we now call the “Shakespearean sonnet” was actually invented by Oxford’s famous uncle, Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey and not Shakespeare. His plays were written predominately in blank verse, which were first used by Surrey in his translation of Virgil’s Aeneid. Yet these are typically associated with Shakespeare and not the individuals who originally penned them. Why is that? good marketing? or are these just facts that have been lost to time?

What is your opinion of Shakespeare?

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