Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The ultimate sacrilege -- censoring Shakespeare

Wolf Hall star Mark Rylance claims he has to edit Shakespeare plays to remove 'antisemitic' lines.

The British actor and former artistic director at the Globe Theatre in London said he feels compelled to cut certain parts which have taken on more 'resonance' since the Holocaust.

Rylance, who plays Thomas Cromwell in the hit BBC drama, was speaking at the Globe where he unveiled a copy of Shakespeare's first folio - recently found in France.

'From what I know of talking to scholars, our own practices are not different from what they did at the time.

'If you went out and played in a puritan town in the north of England, you took out some of the things that were going to offend those people.'

Professor John Jowett of The Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham said: 'Anti-Semitism is a fact of the early modern culture in which Shakespeare lived, worked, and thought, and he was not exempt from it.

'Critics have often remarked on his sensitive and to some extent sympathetic presentation of Shylock, but there is always an element of special pleading.

Shylock is a Jewish moneylender


This is ridiculous.  There is a famous scene in "The Merchant of Venice" (Act 3 scene 1) which is widely held to be a plea by Shakespeare for Jews to be treated equally:

"Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, do we not revenge? If we are like you in the  rest, we will resemble you in that".


Anonymous said...

Shakespeare's writings are not sacred; it is not sacrilege to make some small changes due to sensitivities.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:59 is a perfect example of the PC sheep. Let's just take the "offensive" parts out of all writings, eh? Your definition of offensive, of course.

Anonymous said...

The problem isn't editing the play, since almost any production Shakespeare or otherwise edits plays to fit the staging or time available. Hamlet is almost never staged in it's entirety since it would last well over four hours. The problem is that people are so hypersensitive over anything, that the delicate flowers wilt at the slightest offense. Plays are a reflection of the times, as stated by Hamlet himself, and editing them to avoid certain topics is akin to editing history.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:59, history is not sacred, it is not sacrilege to make small changes due to sensitivities.

Anonymous said...

If any editing is done, it should be made CLEAR beforehand, AND the reason.

Bird of Paradise said...

Another little panietard afraid of offending someone. IDIOT

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:13, surely you jest. History is a set of facts about the past. Changing bits of a play here and there, as Anonymous 1:29 pointed out isn't the problem. Changing history to suit "the times" is unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

11:17 "History" alleges to be about (true) facts, but is often just interpretation or hearsay (and often biased or at least angled, whether or not because of some genuine constraints).

Go Away Bird said...


Anonymous said...

Why shall we kill all the lawyers? Because the laws are made by lawyers, the law is litigated by lawyers and the law is judged by lawyers. All in the interest of profit for the lawyers. In other works folks, the system is not corrupted by a few bad apples, it is rather corrupt at its very core.