Shakespeare and the Enlightenment

The enlightenment period occurred during a time when the Polish civilization was in confusion over whether to follow their traditions and customs or the modern culture. The country of Poland was under the rule of foreign powers such as Austria and Russia after its partitioning (Alexander 32). I, Shakespeare, issued calls to the people of Poland to rise up and fight for their rights through my various works.

I wrote plays and poems in the 16th Century to try and make these people start thinking about their lives and living conditions. I also tried to enlighten the Poles to rise against the influence the French had on their education systems, political lives, theatre and other sectors of their economy. This happened at a time when the influence of the English language was on the increase. The French authorities used the works of my literary works to spread their influences across the nation. This was mainly done through translation of my works of famous writers such as Boguslawski.

The enlightening movement in Poland initially followed the French dogma religiously but with time came to hold on to interpretations done in English (Bristol 42). My works faced criticisms first from the regime of the ruler of the time. This occurred when a group of academics under the influence of Stanislaw wrote a journal by the name of Monitor criticizing my works. Some of his critics such as Czartoryski eventually became my admirers. They praised my works as exemplary, but still recognized the fact that I had no formal training. This they said contributed greatly to the many abnormalities in my works. The King became my ardent fan and even planned to travel to England to take a look at my performances in London theatres (Chesnoiu 74). He also translated my book on Julius Cesar into the French language and purchased more of my other works. Many artists helped in popularizing my works across Warsaw at the time. A good example is the female artist by the name of Czartoryska who even operated exhibitions displaying to the people some of my works.

The 18th century witnessed a growing concern among the people and the authorities on my works as a writer. Many of my works came for presentation in the many theaters across the city of Warsaw and in the towns of Cracow and Lvov (Sabor and Yachnin 28). These presentations were, however, done by foreign companies that mainly used the German and French languages. However, most of these presentations had undergone alterations and adaptations to suit the pseudo-conventional likings of the regime. My entry into the polish theatres came with the presentation of Boguslawski’s version of the play by the name of Romeo and Juliet. The Polish people popularly referred to him as their father of theatre. The presentations of the writers were different from mine due to the political influences the country experienced (Alexander 52). Most of the authors of the time had to make changes in their scripts for them to avoid prosecution. A good example is Boguslawski’s who changed the context of the play Hamlet to suit the current regime. The staging of these plays coincided with several major events in the country that included the crushing of an uprising against the regime and the final division of the country (Chesnoiu 94). Their leader, Stanislaw also died the following year while in exile in Russia. Many writers also faced prosecutions in the struggle by the regime to cleanse their image.

Though the works by the polish writers were alterations of my works they did play a major role in popularizing his importance across Poland’s theatres.

Works Cited

Alexander, Catherine. Shakespeare and Race, 2000.  Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Bristol, Michael. Big-Time Shakespeare, 2006. New York:  Routledge.

Chesnoiu, Monica. Shakespeare in the Romanian Cultural Memory, 2006. London: Farleigh      Dickson University Press.

Peter Sabor, Paul Edward Yachnin, Shakespeare and the eighteenth century, 2008.  London:

Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

Let's make that grade!