Shakespeare's Religious Allusiveness: Its Play and Tolerance

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Overview

Shakespeare's Religious Allusiveness complicates debates about whether Shakespeare's plays are fundamentally Protestant or Catholic in sympathy, challenging analyses that either find Protestant elements consistently undercutting Catholic motifs or, less often, discover evidence of the playwright's endorsement of Catholic doctrine and customs. Rather, Maurice Hunt argues that Shakespeare's syncretistic method of incorporating both Protestant and Catholic elements into his plays was singular among early modern English playwrights at a time when governmental and social tolerance of Protestantism in the theatre was high and criticism of stereotyped Catholicism was correspondingly rampant in drama.

In-depth discussions of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, the Second Henriad, All's Well That Ends Well, Twelfth Night, and Othello reveal how Shakespeare allusively integrates Reformation Protestant and Roman Catholic motifs and systems of thought. This book sheds new light on the playwright's knowledge of and interest in Elizabethan and Jacobean religious debates over the nature of spiritual reformation, the efficacy of merit for redemption, and the operation of Providence. It will appeal not only to Shakespeare scholars but to those interested in the cultural history of the Reformation.

Contents: Preface
Catholicism, Protestant Reformation, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The hybrid reformations of Shakespeare's Second Henriad
Helena and the reformation problem of merit in All's Well That Ends Well
Malvolio, Viola, and the question of instrumentality: defining providence in Twelfth Night
Predestination and the heresy of merit in Othello
Bibliography
Index. Michael Neill, Professor of English, University of Auckland

Author Biography: Maurice Hunt is Professor of English at Baylor University, USA.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780754639541
  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 5/1/2004
  • Series: Shakespeare Studies
  • Pages: 164
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface
1 Catholicism, Protestant reformations, and The two gentlemen of Verona 1
2 The hybrid reformations of Shakespeare's Second Henriad 19
3 Helena and the reformation problem of merit in All's well that ends well 47
4 Malvolio, Viola, and the question of instrumentality : defining providence in Twelfth night 73
5 Predestination and the heresy of merit in Othello 97
Coda 127
Bibliography 131
Index 143
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