Greg Doran believes it’s time to stop with the heteronormativity in William Shakespeare’s plays


Greg Doran, an Artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, has recently made an astonishing statement on BBC Radio 4’s Today, which sounded as: “I am just aware how many times Shakespeare has gay characters, and how sometimes those gay characters are not played as gay, and I think in the 21st century that’s no longer acceptable”. So, it comes to conclusion, that Greg Doran shares the opinion that Shakespeare wrote a cycle of 154 sonnets and 126 of those are addressed to a man. Mr. Doran said, academics found evidence to suggest male pronouns changed to female pronouns during the Victorian era. An Artistic director also believes the character of Antonio in The Merchant of Venice is “absolutely clearly in love with the young man Bassanio”. And last, but not least is that Greg Doran goes on a common theory that William Shakespeare was probably gay himself. The Artistic director said: “It wasn’t somehow quite kosher for the great national bard to possibly have affections for his own sex and therefore that process, to kind of whitewash through the sonnets. I guess that his perspective is very possibly that of an outsider. It allows him to get inside the soul of a black general, a Venetian jew, an Egyptian queen or whatever. Perhaps that outsider perspective has something to do with his sexuality”.

Many people find evidences of Shakespeare’s homosexuality or, at least, bisexuality in his sonnets. For example, his most famous sonnet “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” was written to a man, or in the often-cited Sonnet 20, he describes the male object of his affection as the ‘master-mistress of my passion’. To a modern reading, the poem reads like a gay guy in love with a straight man. These are definitely not all the evidences and guesses that had been expressed by experts and common people during decades. Anyway, a new reading of Shakespeare’s plays, suggested by Greg Doran, will surely find its audience.


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