• Examining Shakespeare's Prejudices and their Repercussions Today

11/10/2009

Harvard legal scholar Alan Dershowitz and Robert Brustein, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Suffolk University, led a discussion on William Shakespeare’s prejudices about Jews, blacks, women, democracy and intellectuals and compared them to the attitudes of our times on Monday, Nov. 16, at the Poetry Center at Suffolk University’s Mildred Sawyer Library. The free-wheeling discussion addressed themes explored in Brustein’s new book The Tainted Muse: Prejudice and Presumption in Shakespeare Work and His Times.

Brustein, a celebrated director, critic and author, and Dershowitz, an outspoken defender of individual rights, examined how the playwright’s masterworks, -- King Lear, Othello, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice and The Tempest -- reflect his era and ours.

“Everybody writes out of the prejudices of their time, including us moderns. We just call it ‘relevance’ or ‘political correctness,’” said Brustein. “Shakespeare is no exception.”

In addition to his recent book, Brustein has written Mortal Terror a new play about Shakespeare. It addresses the backstory to the writing of Macbeth. Suffolk will host a professional reading of the play on December 7 in the C. Walsh Theatre. This event is free and open to the public. 

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