William Shakespeare, A Mere Shepherd’s Son
“However wickedness outstrips men, it has no wings to fly from God.”
In classrooms and on campus,
They Persecute the Bard, William Shakespeare, anew
A move is afoot to shear Western Civilization of all its golden fleece. I’ve been opposing this for years now, but the move is unstoppable. The wicked Queen of Neoliberalism demands fealty, and she will have it.
The litany of crimes accusing William Shakespeare spew from the usual, artless, trite boilerplate. He is a giant in the Western Canon of world literature, and far more deserving than most of his peers on that catalogue of greats. The Bard is one of the most powerful poets in any language who ever lived by grace of God.
And what a beautiful soul! Sigmund Freud’s many psychological insights did not arise from study of his patients, but rather from study of Shakespeare’s plays. Such was the intimacy and the insight achieved by the Bard!
Cries of “white supremacy! Colonialism!” resound through academic halls as they fly against Shakespeare. In sorrow, however, the Bard himself would never have been surprised. For one, he was too attuned to our nature. For another, he was too much a victim of it in his own life.
If you look for William Shakespeare in Elizabethan society, you will find him standing outside of it, on the margins, in the shadowy haunts of actors and theater people. London’s men of letters mocked the Bard for being a “mere shepherd’s son” who dared presumptuously to pen verse, for William was of low birth and beneath their station. (That, and jealously, for the Bard had more raw talent then all of them put together!)
Shakespeare was also almost certainly a Catholic. No one can claim this for certain, we simply lack information, but this is most likely the case. Both his mother and father were Recusants, so he sprung from this bed. We know that he did read Latin, using a Latin text of Plutarch as grist for his storytelling. How did a mere shepherd’s son, with no classical education, know Latin? That’s the mark of a papist! Furthermore, at his height Shakespeare purchased the Blackfriars Gatehouse, a place that figured as a haven and even a stop on an “Underground Railroad” of sorts for Catholics of the day. For, you see, to be a Catholic was to be an outlaw. The evil queen, Elizabeth, would have you disemboweled for this crime. (That gatehouse did figure prominently in the Gunpowder Plot as a safehouse).
And Shakespeare got out. He made his money in London, cashed out and bought the biggest house in Stratford-Upon-Avon. He fled from that London society which never accepted him; he took his wife and they disappeared into the obscurity from whence they arose.
Some white privilege, no? Look for it, look for the hints of his faith that the Bard littered throughout his verse. Will you find them? Will you find the real Shakespeare, peering at what unfolds before him on the stage, from the shadows?