I’m doing an EPQ project at college, I’ve decided my question/ theme will be “did Shakespeare commit plagiarism” I was wondering if you had any opinion on the subject.
Nice URL 🙂 Sorry I saw this earlier and didn’t get a chance to reply until now.
I’ve heard this a lot and was thinking about it the other day. Personally, I don’t think Shakespeare plagiarized. During Shakespeare’s time, collaboration among authors was common and the idea of “plagiarism” didn’t really exist. Shakespeare contributed to several works and some authors contributed to his. It was more of a symbiotic relationship than a parasitic one (woo biology terms!).
That being said, it should be noted that is widely accepted that Shakespeare came up with most of the ideas/themes in his plays and sonnets himself, drawing inspiration from actual events, as many authors tend to do. I think part of the “Did Shakespeare plagiarize?” question has also to do with the fact that many people question the authorship of his plays. Some people can’t fathom the idea that Shakespeare wrote his plays, but I have yet to see a credible theory that Shakespeare didn’t write his plays, so I don’t believe that Shakespeare took someone else’s work and presented it as his, which is what plagiarism is.
To restate the obvious, I don’t think Shakespeare plagiarized. Collaboration among artists is encouraged and I think that’s what he was doing. If the concept of plagiarism like it exists today existed back then, I think that Shakespeare probably would have locked himself in a room with his quill and ink to make sure no one took his ideas and that no one thought he took from other authors. However, that wasn’t the case.
Tldr: Shakespeare didn’t plagiarize. He simply collaborated with authors, which is different.
Hopefully that helps!