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A Will to Believe – Shakespeare and Religion - Oxford Scholarship Online
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A Will to Believe: Shakespeare and Religion

David Scott Kastan


On 19 December 1601, John Croke, then Speaker of the House of Commons, addressed his colleagues: “If a question should be asked, What is the first and chief thing in a Commonwealth to be regarded? I should say, religion. If, What is the second? I should say, religion. If, What the third? I should still say, religion.” But if religion was recognized as the “chief thing in a Commonwealth,” we have been less certain what it does in Shakespeare’s plays. Written and performed in a culture in which religion was indeed inescapable, the plays have usually been seen either as evidence of Shakespeare’s ... More

Keywords: Shakespeare, religion, Hamlet, English Reformation, Catholicism, censorship, Jews, Turks, Othello, conversion, ghosts

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780199572892
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572892.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

David Scott Kastan, author
George M. Bodman Professor of English, Yale University

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