Nothing in Shakespeare's England was as important as religion. Questions of faith informed everything from history and politics to love and family, work and play, good and evil, suffering and sacrifice, and ultimately life and death. Every one of Shakespeare's plays is rich in allusions to the Bible, church rites including baptism, communion, marriage, and burial, and a host of religious beliefs. This Companion provides an essential grounding in early modern religious history and culture and the ideas that Shakespeare returns to throughout his career. Chapters dedicated to close-readings of individual plays or groups of plays span both the complex and variegated Christian beliefs explored in Shakespeare's work, as well as the treatment of Judaism, Islam and classical paganism. Authored by an international team of eminent scholars and featuring an Afterword by Rowan Williams, this Companion is the most comprehensive and incisive guide to the topic that students will find.
Table of Contents
1. Shakespeare and the Elizabethan and Jacobean Church Thomas Betteridge; 2. Shakespeare: biography and belief Andrew Hadfield; 3. The Renaissance Bible Hannibal Hamlin; 4. The drama of the liturgy Daniel Swift; 5. Popular religion Phebe Jensen; 6. Grace and conversion Helen Smith; 7. Love Claire McEachern; 8. Sin and evil Adrian Streete; 9. Compassion, affliction, and patience: biblical and religious allusion in Shakespeare Gary Kuchar; 10. Providence and divine right in the English histories Jean-Christophe Mayer; 11. The Merchant of Venice, Jews, and Christians M. Lindsay Kaplan; 12. Religious and political impasses in Measure for Measure Jennifer R. Rust; 13. Remembering the dead in Hamlet Brian Cummings; 14. Othello and Islam: Shakespeare's noble moor, staging blackness, and the performance of religious difference Daniel Vitkus; 15. Poetic creation in an apocalyptic age: King Lear and the making and the unmaking of the world Kristen Poole; 16. Immortal longings in Shakespeare's Rome Robert S. Miola; 17. Sacred and theatrical miracles in the romances Tom Bishop; Afterword: finding the remedy Rowan Williams.