A Peculiarly English Freedom
Shakespeare was possibly the first writer in Western high culture to be applauded for his apparent lack of artifice. This marks a profound break with the classical tradition in which it was the imitation of earlier writers that was the measure of greatness. Neo-classicists objected to Shakespeare because …
HE VIOLATES THE ARISTOTELIAN UNITIES OF PLOT, PLACE AND TIME IN A PLAY. HE MIXES COMEDY WITH TRAGEDY, FOOLS AND KINGS, AND IS BAWDY. HE PUNS TOO MUCH, WRITES BLANK VERSE RATHER THAN RHYMED, AND SELDOM USES A CHORUS TO REFLECT ON THE PLOT.
But these features were also welcomed as an escape from classical norms into a new form of expression, peculiarly English.
Shakespeare offered an escape from classical tyranny and demonstrated the instinctive freedoms of the English constitution.