William Shakespeare's writing has had a major influence on the literary world but a new study suggests that the Bard of Avon may be the cause behind the social stigma associated with disfiguring skin conditions.
The study was conducted by dermatologists in the UK who found that some of Shakespeare's biggest works contained passages in which the characters insulted others by mentioning skin conditions or by trying to curse someone with a skin affliction. For example a character in 'All's Well That Ends Well' wishes 'a pox upon' another character while 'King John' contains a passage in which a character suggested that if another character suffered from a skin condition then she would not have loved him.
Stating that current works of art such as films or television continue to use skin disfigurement as representing villainy or malice, British Association of Dermatologists member Nina Goad said, "This is particularly concerning when such films are aimed at children, who learn that beautiful, flawless people are kind and trustworthy, and scarred or blemished people are to be feared. Nobody is suggesting that we edit Shakespeare, but maybe we should ensure that new films and books don't reinforce this stereotype."