Alienation And Otherness In Shakespeara

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“Shakespeare must be a black girl,” voiced Maya Angelou as she spoke to a crowd of students and professors during a 2013 visit to Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia (Curtis). As a child growing up in rural Arkansas, Angelou became a victim of racism, rape, and abuse at a young age. One of the few places she found solace from these traumas was at her local public library, a safe haven where she read every piece of literature that she could get her hands on. This is how she first discovered the work of William Shakespeare.
“How else could he know exactly how I felt?” she recalled, explaining that her younger self so deeply identified with the elements of alienation and otherness in various Shakespearean sonnets and plays, she was determined that they had to have been written by a young black girl, just like her (Curtis). Shakespeare has a unique ability to pull audiences into his writing. The abundant volume of his work and the universal aspects of life that he explores have the potential to appeal to individuals from all walks of life. His insights into human behavior, although four centuries old, still remain stunningly accurate and applicable to the contemporary human experiences of modern audiences (Brockett).
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“The poetry you read has been written for you, each of you-- black, white, hispanic, man, woman, gay, straight,” she urged the crowd in Lynchburg (Curtis). Four centuries after his death, Shakespeare’s work has endured a long enough history that it can no longer be restricted based on gender, race, or class. He was a writer of the human experience, which means that his work belongs, in part, to all who read, act, or view

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