Mouthpiece of the Conservative Establishment
Shakespeare is currently under attack for being a poodle of the Establishment — a pejorative use of the title “National Poet”. The argument runs that, historically, Shakespeare has been adapted to conservatism.
HE WAS DISSEMINATED BY, AND ALSO A CULTURAL JUSTIFICATION FOR, THE BRITISH EMPIRE. HE FORMED THE BOURGEOIS WORLD PICTURE AND ITS PERSONAL VALUES.
His position in schools or at large in culture is a clear example of the bourgeoisie’s attempt to reproduce their class ideology. This was made most explicit by Margaret Thatcher’s Secretary of State for Education, Kenneth Baker.
IN HIS ANTHOLOGY OF ENGLISH HISTORY IN VERSE (1988), BAKER DECLARED THAT … … THE PLAYS OF SHAKESPEARE AND THE KING JAMES BIBLE ESTABLISHED THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE AS THE GREATEST GLORY OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION. BAKER’S GREAT EDUCATION REFORM BILL (1988) MADE SHAKESPEARE COMPULSORY FOR 14-YEAR-OLD SCHOOLCHILDREN.
Shakespeare is a fundamental principle in English education, let alone in many English courses over the globe. Merely brief attempts to gain familiarity with certain plays will determine how those works will be taught and read, and certain assumptions about how to read and write will be communicated — in particular those which treat him outside history, rather than as part of historical process. And anyway, Shakespeare is the archetypal Dead White European Male writer.