Long before neuroscientists found the interaction of genes, epigenetic effects and environment on the pathological tendencies in humans, it may appear that Shakespeare created the perfect study in his play Coriolanus.
Prospero, the title character in Shakespeare’s The Tempest is betrayed and banished from his city and from his title and set out to sea in a small boat with his daughter. This act of betrayal causes him to seek revenge.
When Shakespeare gave us King Henry V, we all thought he was a good king. What if a close reading of the play uncovered another side to him?
In spite of the grief and sense of justice portrayed by Othello in the final scene of Shakespeare’s Tragedy, the killing of his wife was not an honorable killing.
When King Lear introduces his business succession plan and divides his kingdom between his daughters, he projects a version of himself that he believes will warrant admiration befitting a King. Without realizing it however he creates the opposite effect when the daughter he favored did not play the role he prescribed and his dementia takes over his life.
While Shakespeare’s plays are largely plays about men, and men’s issues of power and authority, he was aware of the negative treatment of women in England before and during his time.
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, he clearly showed the discriminatory treatment women experienced in society in four distinct ways but then turned it all on its head by introducing the magical world of fairies where such expectations of society did not matter.