Thursday, March 3, 2011

Shakespeare and Controversy

As I've been thinking about The Winter's Tale, I've been trying to figure out why Shakespeare was advocating the idea of sex and its benefit through the strong, triumphant character of Hermione (I talk about this in my previous blog post). At first my thought was that maybe Shakespeare was trying to break the mold a bit and introduce a taboo topic on the stage to try and spark a bit of social change. However, after doing a little research, I don't think this was his motive.

Dr. Burton reminded me of one of his former students, Becca, who contacted Phyllis Rackin and got some feedback from her. (Becca's blog). Here is a part of what Phyllis said:

"I doubt that the players were using their stages as platforms to advocate for social change. I think they were trying to make money and that their choice of plays that raised touchy questions about gender was largely dictated by popular interest in those questions. I think drama thrives on conflict, sensationalism, and social anxieties, and I think the big point to remember about the playhouses is that they were commercial."

After reading this, I'm thinking that this topic if sex is good or original sin was a controversial topic, and Shakespeare explored this to spark intrigue and make a few bucks. I want to further research this idea and what the common belief was during the Renaissance, and I think I'm well on my way. Hopefully my next post will include some solid research.