Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
College of Humanities and Fine Arts
William Shakespeare's canon is famous throughout the world, studied by scholars as well as read by laymen for leisure. These scholars and laymen value Shakespeare's works for their content and form, at the same time that they criticize them for their flaws. On the surface, it is clear that Shakespeare touches on many issues in his poems and plays, such as love and war, but hidden underneath are messages that are ambiguous. These hidden messages are a product of censorship. During the Renaissance, Sir Francis Walsingham established the State apparatus which helped to protect society against counter-Reformation activists. This apparatus hindered playwrights from expressing true feelings towards the government because the theatre entertained large audiences. Because of this, the government feared that the playwrights might include seditious material against England and the Queen ("Censorship" 1). Shakespeare noticed this law and took great care to hide meanings in his works. Through the use of mythology, Shakespeare brings cultural history and a sense of heritage to his plays. But most importantly, he uses mythology as a device to expose social issues that occured in the contemporary patriarchal society of Elizabethan England.
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Polascak, Marissa, "A Woman is a Dish for the Gods': Shakespeare's Use of Myth to Criticize Patriarchy" (2012). Honors Theses. 60.