by Ronald Ginther, MFA, A Masters of Arts with a Creative Thesis, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington State
Shakespeare's sonnets and plays, without the Bible, would not have been written in their present form handed down to us since the 17th century.
They are not Greek tragedies--they are full of truth and candor and wisdom that come from various books of the Bible, not straight out of worldly, pagan Greek philosophy.
Shakespeare exemplifies the Judaeo-Christian civilization. There may be copious allusions to Greek gods, but no real belief in them; rather, it is the righteous Christian God who rules the universe and governs the affairs of mortal men, kings and nations. Shakespeare himself is thought by some to have been a secret or "closet Catholic," for at times the Catholics were bitterly persecuted by the Church of England or the Puritans under Cromwell (though under bloody Queen Mary, a Roman Catholic, the Protestants were persecuted and killed, bloodily rendering them tit for tat).
Whether he was Protestant or Catholic, it is impossible to imagine a William Shakespeare, in fact, without the Bible and a thorough knowledge of it.
I have been privileged to visit Stratford-on-Avon, and I also watched a Shakespearean play performed in a downtown London theater--a real treat, even with all-British-accented actors, and truly such events could not have taken place prior to the Bible.
Without the Bible and a knowledge of it, the audiences would not have understood a single line even if the plays had somehow come into existence to be acted and viewed publicly.
"Hamlet" and "King Lear" and "The Merchant of Venice" are my favorites. I have read all, or most all, his tragedies and plays, and loved them, studying them in college and on my own, and he is definitely within the Judaeo-Christian heritage and Christian civilization as a playwright, poet, and thinker.
The Bible, then, is the prime source of the Shakespearean plays, though it does not take a rocket scientist, as commonly said, to discern this fact. Without that heritage he wouldn't exist as a consummate poet and playwright.
Little people or people with little mentalities and big insecurities do not like great people with great abilities and minds. For that reason that human nature is what it is, and envy is alive and well in academia, you won't find this thesis, pro and con being discussed, being taken up in graduate schools, however. It would be just too politically incorrect in the secular humanist-dominated colleges and universities, institutions and faculties that are in the process of jettisoning English literature and its heritage in favor of the secular humanist sacraments of "diversity," and "multiculturalism" and "tolerance," while categorizing and defining English literature as the product of "dead white Anglo-Saxon males" and not worthy of a postmodernist's attention.
What specious humbug! English literature would not exist if not for the Bible. It is Christian from the half-pagan, half-Christian verse epic of Beowulf to the latest Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and the Lord of the Rings cycle of T.R.R. Tolkien.
The glory of the Ark of God departed from Israel once upon a time, when the Ark was captured by the heathen Philistines after they defeated a reprobate Israel during the judgeship of Eli, the priest at the tabernacle. Well, the glory of English literature and heritage (and it is truly glorious) has been swiftly departing from the higher institutions of learning in America, which are fast turning into dungeons of politically-correct propaganda overseen by hate speech thought police.
William Shakespeare will soon find no place to lay his head in such venues of arrogant, asinine folly. He is just too, too Biblical and moralistic! The fact he demonstrated he was a genius of a millennia or two of Western Civilization seems to have eluded the apparently brain-dead arbiters of PC dominating so much of academia today. Alas for English literature studies and the generations affected by this wrong turn by so many colleges and universities. They have robbed themselves and their students of genuine treasures of the mind and spirit, replacing them with the shoddy productions of ideology that cannot last and produce meaning and purpose for humanity and will surely guide humanity to dead ends.
It is regrettable that even Christian educators can produce bibliographies for recommended reading that exclude William Shakespeare. They should be the last to ever do so, one would think! Such are these times, alas!