Shakepeare Political Theorist?

Political Theorists write what they believe to be important, the key to American success into books that could be great success and widely circulated like Common Sense by Thomas Paine, but today most people, besides political science majors, do not pick up political works for a bit of light reading. They are boring for the most part and do not entrance the public. However what if there was a way to get out the message to awaken the public to a political travesty, to entice them to change their future through political evolvement.

Anonymous (2011) debuted at the box office on October 28th. It claims that Shakespeare was in fact not the author, playwright, and poet that we all know him to be but in fact that he was merely an illiterate actor, who never learned to form letters. That the Earl of Oxford was in fact the mastermind behind many of the historical and deeply political plays of the time.

Knowing he could not indeed soil his good name for writing plays was thought to have been the work of the devil at that time and certainly not regarded as a respectful career choice.  Yet I was not intrigued by whether Shakespeare was the playwright we know him to be or not but a huge revolt caused by the play he wrote.

Often today when the President interrupts our primetime television we are not only irritated but it’s also the time you might find yourself hitting the restroom or refilling your snacks. Most feel it is a break and ignore the message conveyed. The broadcast also does not reach every station so you could change the channel rather than listen to the important message.

What if political thought could be disguised in an action packed, suspenseful drama broadcast so that most Americans could not help but turn away. The play depicted in the film was open to everyone and the Earl himself financed it so that people could watch for free. It was written to create a mob to convince the Queen her advisors were corrupt and did not have her best interests at heart. They turned people away at the doors.

With television being virtually free in the sense that 99% of Americans own at least one in their homes, think of the influence it provides. And what a great outlet it could be if the right message was portrayed the modern sense of a play a movie or primetime television show. Political messages could be encrypted into the shows we watch to change the though process of Americans and solve some of the problems America is facing (economic crisis).

People don’t go to plays or hear speeches the way they did in past times. The technology of the present is hindering the knowledge of the public about the political sphere. Could people look on the internet for the information they seek… yes, but what would they rather do online shop, play a video game, or read gossip on a social network site.

Someone may have the best ideas and write a fantastic speech but what good would that do if no one listens or pays attention to the message and the speaker.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Shakepeare Political Theorist?

  1. jlpach says:

    I actually am currently taking a Shakespeare course. When the film Anonymous debuted here in Ann Arbor, my professor encouraged us to go see it. I was not able to see the film myself, but my professor believed the film was making false claims about Shakespeare. However, being in that class, I do agree that Shakespeare did use his plays to portray his views and opinions on politics. Currently in class, we are reading the play Richard III, which is a historical play illustrating the acts of King Richard III in trying to gain control over the throne of England. Shakespeare purposefully portrays the character in the play to be profoundly evil in order to emphasize his, perhaps, disdain for monarchical political maneuvers.

    Although it may be true that many Americans do not listen to the speeches and political interruptions made by the President, I believe there have been many other ways television has been able to influence the political opinions of people. One of the key ways has, in my opinion, been through televised political satire, especially through shows such as SNL and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In joint with my Shakespeare class, I am also taking a course about satires during the Age of Enlightenment. Around the time Shakespeare was writing his plays, other authors were also able to use writing to satirically represent their political views and opinions of the government of England. Although he wrote later than Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels is a perfect example of an author’s literary critique on the politics, specifically that of the English parliament. I am describing not only written works, but works that written many years ago, but I believe the same concept of political satire can be applied today through televised shows. Jon Stewart does satirically represent American politics. His show attracts audiences because of its comedy, yet it also portrays political opinion. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and SNL are just two examples of a variety of TV shows that serve to provide political opinions on issues in American politics. What is great about these shows as well is that their comedy attracts audiences to watch them. Satire today is both televised and also serves to relay political messages to the public.

  2. lgeorge905 says:

    I think political themes are prevalent in today’s media, whether in hidden or overt form. Plenty of movies I’ve recently watched have a political message. Avatar, for instance, was believed to have been a response to the Iraq war. The West Wing had a theme in virtually every episode.

    I think presenting information in a more entertaining way presents a dilemma- sure, you possibly expand the reach of your message, but you certainly lose some of the substance too. I think the ability to hear unfiltered political speeches and discussion is vital to citizenship.

  3. Justin says:

    I think politics presented by the news media and even shared by the White House is already disguised in a more dramatic way than you may even realize. Certainly, if something is on TV, it must be entertaining for people to watch it. A presidential speech may not be too entertaining, and perhaps that is why not very many people watch it. That is why President Bush flew on an aircraft carrier with dramatic lighting and a whole production team for his “Mission Accomplished” speech in 2003. For the news media to be competitive, they must inject entertainment into their shows. The news is put on by the best producers and directors, and contains the best “actors” that one can hire. It is not a coincidence that the most popular talking heads in the news are the most polarizing, the most brash and the most entertaining. The thing with this is, when entertainment is mixed with the news, I think news becomes inherently less educating, which is bad.

  4. allisonrd says:

    While not as many people pay attention to political messages and happenings as probably should, I would be cautious when inserting these types of themes into entertainment oriented television shows. My biggest qualm is that half-hearted political information either would be oversimplified, poorly researched, and really not that helpful or transformative. You also run the risk of endangering transparent information sharing—something that many people often complain about and blame the media for.

  5. Kirsten Meeder says:

    I agree with allisonrd’s point about sneaking political learning into TV. While there are examples of countries where politics are hidden in popular culture, the examples of this that first come to my mind are North Korea news and Nazi propaganda films. Feeding people political thought could easily be misconstrued as propaganda when it is placed in the wrong hands.

    On another note, I am currently in a Spanish film class where we have watched films about major political issues/rebellions in Latin America which perfectly demonstrate what Hollywood and popular media do to actual events and politics to make them profitable. Instead of being entirely true to latin politics, these movies present an “Americanized” version of events with invented love stories and drama which have the ability to pervert the original content. On the other hand, however, these stories still reach people through this medium and inform them about events that they would otherwise know nothing about, so it is not all bad. It’s a mixed bag.

Leave a Reply