The Connection Between Shakespeare and Maurice Sendak

For there is a deep affinity between the Renaissance playwright and the modern author and artist. The affinity is in part no doubt a matter of influence: sophisticated and widely read, Maurice was steeped in high culture. But it is still more a secret sharing, an instinctive fascination with some of the same half-hidden springs of human aggression, fear and longing. There are obvious links in his books to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” with its mysterious moonlit forest, its mischievous fairies and, above all, its strange preoccupation (still unexplained by critics 400 years later) with the figure of the changeling. Sendak shared too a powerful empathetic identification with what Shakespeare, in “King Lear,” calls “unaccommodated man,” the “poor, bare, forked animal” in his nakedness and vulnerability. And, like Shakespeare, Sendak was drawn to look directly into the face of absolute evil. That evil is not allowed to triumph in “Brundibar,” any more than it is allowed to triumph in “Lear” or “Macbeth,” and yet there is, in Sendak’s images of resurgent goodness as in Shakespeare’s, the same poignant undertow that afflicts the happy restoration of order.

Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt, writing for The New York Times, shares the story of how he met Sendak, and how both authors were courageous to surrender to a greater sense of wonderment to create their stories.


Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit

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