Shakespeare's Historical Accuracy Essay

1194 words - 5 pages

Shakespeare’s Historical Accuracy
William Shakespeare is possibly the greatest English writer every to live. Many people all around the world enjoy reading his plays. Often in his plays, Shakespeare describes things like lifestyle and laws of his time period. However, some people claim that Shakespeare’s plays are not historically accurate and therefore, mislead the people who read his plays. So how can one determine if Shakespeare is accurate or not? Well, one could ask, what was the social class like, what personal experiences did Shakespeare have, and what were some laws that governed the time.
To begin, in the 1500’s, the social class was divided into two main groups; one with all the power and one without any power. Shakespeare demonstrates this in his writings. According to Civilization in the West, “European society was supposedly divided into two status groups- nobles and commoners” (Civilization in the West para. 1). Essentially, Medieval Europe consisted of nobles and commoners with all the power in the hands of the nobles. The nobles were in charge of politics, militaries, and economics while the common people grew crops. Shakespeare demonstrated this in Romeo and Juliet when he had servants like Sampson and Abram speak in prose while nobles like Lord Capulet speak in meter. This serves as a clear distinction between the common people and the nobles. Next, as published in Life in Italy, Italy faced great hardships because the Byzantine and Lombard were fighting for the control of the Italian Peninsula. Because two different groups were fighting for Italy, feuds could have arose between the citizens of Italy over which side they should support. This serves as a possible explanation as to why the Capulets disliked the Montagues in Romeo and Juliet. If so, then William Shakespeare used real-life historical events in his writing. All in all, William Shakespeare accurately demonstrates the social class and lifestyle of the 1500’s in his writings.
To continue, William Shakespeare’s inspirations may have led him to accurately depict historical things in his plays. For instance, as published in Shakespeare Online, “Shakespeare’s greatest influences were the works of other great writers” (Mabillard para. 1). William Shakespeare often drew influence from other great writers of and before the 1500’s. Therefore, if any of their works were based on historical events, then so were Shakespeare’s. Some examples of writers that Shakespeare was influenced by are Thomas Kyd and Christopher Marlowe. Both these men wrote plays in England during Queen Elizabeth’s reign. Both (especially Marlowe) were known for their controversial believes on religion. Marlowe even went so far as to deny Jesus Christ as a deity. For this belief, both he and Thomas Kyd were put to death. However, it is obvious that Shakespeare shared their belief that writers should be able to express their beliefs even if they are unorthodox. Because of this, Shakespeare’s personal...

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