A top theatre director has suggested that William Shakespeare might have been gay.
Greg Doran , artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, suggested that the playwright ’s ‘outsider ’ perspective might offer clues about his sexuality.
He added that Victorian academics were embarrassed by the possibility of England’ s most celebrated bard being gay, so they ‘whitewashed ’ his sonnets .
Speaking on BBC Radio 4 ’s Today programm e , Doran said : ‘I guess a growing understanding of Shakespeare as I have worked with him over the many years that I have, makes me realise that his perspective is very possibly that of an outsider .
‘It allows him to get inside the soul of a black general , a Venetian jew , an Egyptian queen or whatever and perhaps that outsider perspective has something to do with his sexuality. ’
He added that clues can be found in the 154 sonnets that Shakespeare wrote, which focus on themes like love and beauty .
Out of the 154 , 126 are addressed to a young man .
Doran accused Victorian academics of heterosexualising the playwright and changing the pronouns in his sonnets .
He said : ‘It wasn ’ t somehow kosher for the great national bard to possibly have affectations for his own sex and therefore that process , to kind of whitewash through the sonnets .
‘I am just aware of how many times Shakespeare has gay characters , and how sometimes those gay characters are not played as gay, and I think in the 21 st century that ’s no longer acceptable .’
Debate about Shakespeare ’s sexuality has raged for years , despite records showing the bard married at 18 and fathered three children with his wife Anne Hathaway .
Academics and scholars clashed about the issue in the Times Literary Supplement three years ago .
Sir Brian Williams provoked the argument by claiming that sonnet 116 appeared in a ‘primarily homosexual context ’ .
But Sir Stanley Wells , a Shakespeare scholar at the University of Birmingham , told the
Telegraph : ‘ Shakespeare was certainly not exclusively gay.
‘But he was pretty certainly bisexual and actively so . The strongest evidence comes from the sonnets , in some of which he writes of a triangular relationship with a man and a woman. ’