In William Shakespeare’s plays Othello, King Lear, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare created characters that exhibited traits of racism, ageism, and sexism in these three plays. When writing these plays, Shakespeare’s characters were so detailed in their prejudices that readers may seriously wonder how Shakespeare was able to formulate the ideas and opinions of the main antagonists in these plays. However, in this instance, art does not imitate Shakespeare’s personal life. It is clear to tell that Shakespeare is wary of the dangers and flaws of racism, ageism, and sexism because the plays that these types of discrimination appeared in were all tragedies. If Shakespeare subscribed to one of these negative ideologies, his endings may have been more triumphant and positive. An example of such a film is The Birth of a Nation where the racist white supremacist ideologies of the filmmakers were rampant throughout the film. Contrary to Shakespeare’s Othello, however, the racism shown in The Birth of a Nation was not viewed as an ideological flaw in any way. In Othello, racism is present throughout the play in all of its negative forms. Meaning that, instead of white supremacy being a shining light and positive force, racism within the Venice portrayed in Othello leads to nothing but prejudice, anger, violence, and tragic behaviors.
To conclude, the other forms of prejudice that Shakespeare portrays, such as the ageism in King Lear, Shakespeare also show how discrimination can be the indirect cause of multiple negative events. One example being how everyone mocks King Lear for his age and does not consider the wisdom and knowledge that he possesses because of his life experiences. Shakespeare could not have been a racist, ageist, or sexist during his time because he was too adept at showing how destructive these ideologies can truly be.
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