Skip to comments.Shakespeare as a Christian Writer
Posted on 03/26/2010 3:23:31 PM PDT by CondoleezzaProtege
Until I inherited the Shakespeare course in my department halfway through my career, I assumed that despite certain Christian patterns and occasional biblical allusions in the tragedies, Shakespeare's plays were broadly humanistic in their intellectual allegiance. Nothing has been a bigger surprise in my scholarly career than my gradually coming to regard Shakespeare as a Christian writer.
I need to clarify what I am not claiming. I make no claim to know Shakespeare's state of soul in life and death...
...If we ask what counts as evidence in weighing the Christian allegiance of the plays, the answer is that what counts as evidence of Shakespeare's intellectual and religious viewpoint is the same as with any other author. I propose that the following is a reliable grid for identifying points at which Shakespeare's plays intersect with the Christian faith: (1) explicit allusions to the Bible or Christian documents like the Book of Common Prayer or church life; (2) congruence of ideas in a play with Christian doctrines; (3) correspondence of the view of reality embodied in the plays with the biblical view of reality; (4) portrayal of Christian experiences (e.g., forgiveness, repentance, guilt pursuant to sin) in the plays; (5) the presence of Christian archetypes and symbols...
Because the Christian references in the major tragedies leap out from the page, I have chosen the less familiar path of exploring a romantic comedy. I remember asking the secretary in my own department...to proofread a handout that I had composed...She blurted out, "I don't see that the comedies have anything to do with the Christian faith." At an earlier phase of my understanding, I would have shared that sentiment, but the more I have delved into the plays, the more Christian even the comedies have seemed...
(Excerpt) Read more at reformation21.org ...
In contemporary culture at large, and in the Christian community as well, there is an unthinking acceptance of the stereotype of Shakespeare as either indifferent to the Christian faith or hostile to it. It is a great lie.
That why if you want to understand history, you are much better off actually reading the letters and documents from the time. You'll see they have little resemblance to the garbage modern “historians” are trying to pass off.
It seems pretty clear to me that Shakespeare was Catholic.
This really is a great read. Thanks for the post.
It is of course in the nature of the claim that the United States evolved as a "Christian" nation.
Imagine how many people reading this loathe the claim, from the New York Times to the Duke University History Department. It is largely a matter of placing one's self in another venue, a matter of imagination, and identification with it - to walk in another man's shoes-. I had an old friend who as a history major always insisted on how it, the study of history, did require "imagination," which I, as a math/science type, never understood; but have come to, much later in life.
For me the failure to empathize with the past is the greatest human tragedy. And reflects the very character of Leftism, the desperate need for the personal Ego to construct its own perceptions, and overwrite past lessons. In other words juvenilism, the triumph of Ego over truth.
He sure seems to have shared that lineage, and though somewhat the tightrope walker, he was yet a pragmatist skilled enough to have kept his head...literally.
I was taught that in good old Public School back in the early 60's.
A Catholic who danced on the headman’s edge yet rose to the patronage of two Protestant monarchs.