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Florida politician said Shakespeare never used pronouns 'in his plays' and got a fact check

Shakespeare's plays were 'fluid' to say the least.

shakespeare, lavern spicer, pronouns

William Shakespeare and Lavern Spicer.

In William Shakespeare's “Sonnet 59,” he makes the point that there is “nothing new but that which hath been before.” Here, he admits that even the Bard himself struggled to come up with new ideas that hadn’t been written about previously.

This problem stems from the fact that people tend to think the struggles we have today are entirely new when they’ve been part of the human drama for centuries. A great example is how society grapples with gender nonconformity. In 2023, there is a vigorous debate, which tends to fall along political party lines, over the use of personal pronouns.


Lavern Spicer, a Republican from Florida who has lost two congressional elections, has made a point of fighting back against the use of pronouns. She’s gone viral for incorrectly claiming that pronouns weren’t used in either the Bible or the Constitution.

Spicer was back at it again on January 1 when she tweeted, “Shakespeare didn’t walk around putting pronouns in his plays. That’s why they’re classics. Imagine if this dude wrote ‘My name is Macbeth and my pronouns are they/them.’ SMH.”

The former congressional candidate received countless responses from people explaining that Shakespeare used pronouns in his writing and gender-neutral ones at that. Further, many of Shakespeare’s plays featured themes of gender nonconformity.

Spicer’s tweet showed that she probably hadn’t read much Shakespeare.

Twitter user Jason Tondro explained that Shakespeare used the singular "they" "before it became the target of a cultural war."

Cross-dressing was also a regular part of all of Shakespeare’s plays because, during his time, women weren’t allowed to be actresses so female roles were played by young men or boys.

It was also funny that of all of Shakespeare’s plays she chose to make an example out of “Macbeth.”

Looking back at Shakespeare’s work proves that pronoun use has evolved and will continue to do so.

Spicer fired back at her critics using the most inclusive of all nongendered pronouns, “Y’all.”

To be charitable to Spicer, it seems she tried to make the point that things were better in the past because we had defined gender roles. But she used an awful example to make her point. Further, her point is wildly incorrect because gender nonconformity has been part of humanity since the beginning of time.

Shakespeare’s work isn’t timeless because of his pronoun use, but because his work touched on universal human themes that have remained relevant for hundreds of years. Shakespeare wrote about love, family, power, death, ambition, fate and yes, gender.


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