What’s In A Statue

Yesterday, I visited the Westminster Abbey; a brilliant and historic piece of architecture that held the graves and monuments of many well-known and popular figures from ancient history. One of those monuments was dedicated to William Shakespeare, the playwright who is the subject of this course. The majority of the monuments that honored most of the deceased figures in Westminster Abbey were rectangular slabs of grey stone, but that was not the case with William Shakespeare’s. Shakespeare was etched in a full body statue, and the act of forging an image of Shakespeare in such a way says a lot about how much the society of England revered him.

In the statue, William Shakespeare is leaning over an object with a fist under his chin. He seems completely relaxed and confident; as if he knows for a solid fact that everything is great with his life and that nothing is going to go wrong again. This is an image of how the sculptors of Shakespeare viewed him and his writing. It appears that they viewed him as a self-assured and confident master of his art. They seemed to view him as an individual who could confront and surpass every writing challenge without even breaking a sweat. He truly appears to look like a man that has never had any doubts about how he should have written his work and Shakespeare seems to believe that he has executed it perfectly.

However, the most glaring piece of evidence that demonstrates how greatly Shakespeare was revered as a writer was the object that he was leaning on, which was a couple of books resting atop the heads of English monarchs. The sculptors of this statue revered Shakespeare so much that they associated him with the royal family. The statue literally depicts his work as that of royalty. In fact, he is placed higher than royalty in this statue, for he is using the royalty of England as a convenient tool for having a place to rest his books and take his relaxed stance. This statue of Shakespeare was found among the writers’ section of the Westminster Abbey. Since he is associated with royalty in the guise of this statue, Shakespeare does not only appear to be presented as the king of all writers, but as a figure beyond even kings themselves.