What was Shakespeare's political orientation?
Some modern critics have argued that Shakespeare's depictions of evil rulers who are justly overthrown marked him as a progressive or even a radical who challenged the doctrine of the divine right of kings. While Shakespeare's politics are not precisely stated, in his portraits of mob rule (as in Julius Caesar and in Coriolanus) the Bard expresses a basic political conservatism: the common man, the rabble, in Shakespeare's works does not have the capacity to rule himself. Shakespeare was not an advocate of democratic government, social leveling or state-sponsored welfare. By contemporary standards, his views would be considered authoritarian insofar as his legitimate ruler is completely free to determine the lives of his (or her) subjects and must, in fact, do so with justice and compassion on behalf of the commonwealth.