I finished reading The Tempest yesterday afternoon, and I figured out why I never really liked Shakespeare. Everything in his plays centers on the noble class, while the illegitimate characters are looked down upon, and they are always outsiders with no place in the Christian world. Personally, my dad was adopted, and his birth was illegitimate. His father took no interest in him or his twin brother, so the mother gave them up. A good man, an attorney named Charles Graden, and his wife Ida Mae, adopted them. But this was in 1925, when adoption was much more scandalous than today. It was similar to divorce in being socially unacceptable.
Shakespeare believed that characters had to be highborn to be interesting. This policy continued in drama until Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen presented A Doll’s House, shattering old conventions and advocating freedom for all individuals, whatever their social status. The production at its first performance caused the audience to riot.
For me, the history of the stage begins with Ibsen.