Shakespeare: A True Republican

713 Words3 Pages
Shakespeare: A True Republican William Shakespeare spent his years residing in a country that was ruled by a monarchy, but several of his works took place in countries who had republican governments. Shakespeare was known to lace his plays with political issues, but do these interpretations mean that he was a true republican himself? Some Shakespearian scholars have strong ideas about his political orientation and use his plays to support their theories. They suggest that Shakespeare's more politically-involved plays and issues therein illustrate his views. Andrew Hadfield, an English professor at the University of Sussex, wrote: "Shakespeare belonged to an expanding generation of writers who had received a classical education but had no obvious place in the social hierarchy. It is hardly surprising that many turned to republican political ideas and values, especially grammar school boys such as Shakespeare, who had to make a career in London by producing what a wider public wanted."(100). This indicates that Shakespeare was a speaker for the people and wrote what the general public felt and wanted to hear. Hadfield also comments that Shakespeare’s theme of a republic was a similar interest to the people of Britain: “ In choosing the foundational event of the Roman republic as his topic, Shakespeare in fact showed a remarkably shrewd sense of what was likely to appeal to his patron’s political tastes.”(101). Shakespeare’s plays reflect republican ideals of justice and fairness in society. These ideals are constructed in “The Merchant of Venice”. In the Venetian republic, justice is sought out when Shylock, a Jew, is able to seek revenge against Antonio for his Hawley. Shakespeare: A True Republican.2 lost daughter. Realistically, a Jew would have no legal standing in any court system in those times; nevertheless, Shylock’s pursuit of justice symbolizes
Open Document