I, william Shakespeare., in perfect health and memory, god be praised, do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following. That is to say, first, i commend my soul into the hands of God my Creator, hoping and assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ my saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting, and my body to the earth whereof. — shakespeare's last will and testament, 77 78 In the opinion of david Kastan, "this is as close as we can get to an expression of Shakespeare's own belief, and might well be taken as conclusive evidence by some people". Rowse (2013 for instance, insisted that the statement in Shakespeare's Will shows a conformist position to Protestant religion. 79 Kastan discusses how some might see the phrase "through thonlie merittes of Jesus Christe" as a reference to the doctrine of solus Christus, but at the same time he argues that the expression "might have become merely conventional by 1616, and have little. Thus, he asserts that this can hardly be considered as an ultimate evidence to define Shakespeare's religious affiliation, since the preamble was formulaic in the epoch.
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Literary editor Bishop Warburton declared that in the mind of Jacobean playgoers the policy of equivocation, adopted as an official doctrine of the jesuits, would have been a direct reminder of Catholic treason in the " Gunpowder plot ". 64 Shakespeare may have also been aware of the "equivocation" concept which appeared as the subject of a 1583 tract by queen Elizabeth's chief councillor Lord Burghley, and invisible the 1584 Doctrine of Equivocation by the Spanish prelate martin Azpilcueta that was disseminated across Europe and. 65 Perhaps Shakespeare's most direct reference in the plays to contemporary religious issues comes at the birth of queen Elizabeth in Henry viii, during whose reign, as the character Archbishop Cranmer, architect of the reformation, predicts: "God shall be truly known". 66 The words in question, however, are generally attributed to Fletcher, and not directly attributable to Shakespeare. 67 One perspective is that to deduce from the evidence a definite Anglican Shakespeare is to misapprehend the religious circumstances of the time, the word "Anglican" not existing until nearly two decades after the writer's death and contemporary historians not recognising Anglicanism as a firm. 68 In a similar vein, maurice hunt, jean-Christophe mayer and others have written of a shakespeare with a syncretic or hybrid faith, in some sense both Catholic and Protestant. Anthony nuttall argues Shakespeare's work defies identification of precise religious influences because Shakespeare's ranging and restless mind played with many ideas, alternately promoting and challenging assumptions throughout the plays; in measure for measure, nuttall finds evidence of experimentation with heretical Gnostic theology. 69 However, eamon Duffy points out that although the majority of Tudor people were muddled and uncertain, accepting of compromise and accommodation, "Religious diversity was not a notion to conjure with in Tudor England Ritual and doctrinal diversity were evils, aspects of social and religious. Beatrice batson ( Wheaton College 73 and Joseph William Sterrett ( Aarhus University 74 the last of which insists that Shakespeare promoted religious tolerance in his writings. Shakespeare scholars such as Eric Sams and Robert miola disagree with the traditional position that Shakespeare was a member of the established Anglican Church. 75 Shakespeare's Will edit beilby watson (1843) as well as John Donnan countermine (1906) argued that Shakespeare's religious beliefs could be studied taking into account his will, 76 which states: In the name of God, Amen.
56 Shakespeare had also become the godfather of William Walker in the Church of England, and he remembered his godson in his will with twenty shillings. 57 Rowse identifies anti-catholic sentiment in Sonnet 124, taking "the fools of time" in the last lines of this sonnet "To this I witness call the fools of time, which die for goodness who have lived for crime." to refer to the many jesuits who. 58 In regard to this, john Klause of Hofstra University accepts that Shakespeare intended "the fools of time" in the sonnet to represent executed Jesuits, but contends that the poet, by alluding to executed Jesuit Robert southwell shredder 's Epistle of Comfort and its glorification. Klause maintains that southwell's influence is also identifiable in Titus Andronicus. 59 A later assessment places Klause's interpretation as "against most recent trends". 60 Notwithstanding pearce's identification (above) of Shakespeare's King John as a reworking of The Troublesome reign of King John, made to refute its anti-catholic bias, strong examples of Protestant sympathies, such as the denouncement of the pope as an "unworthy and alian priest" with "usurped. 61 Yale 's david Kastan sees no inconsistency in a protestant dramatist lampooning the martyr Oldcastle in the play henry iv (above a contemporary audience would have identified Shakespeare's unsympathetic portrayal as a proof of his Protestantism because the knight's Lollardry was in the author's. 62 Stephen Greenblatt acknowledges the convention that the "equivocator" arriving at the gate of hell in the porter's speech in Macbeth is a reference to the jesuit Father Henry garnet, who had been executed in 1606. 63 he argues that Shakespeare probably included the allusion for the sake of topicality, trusting that his audience would have heard of Garnet's pamphlet on equivocation, and not from any hidden sympathy for the man or his cause indeed the portrait is not a sympathetic.
48 On the other hand, jonathan Bate describes the process of leir 's transformation into lear as replacing the "external trappings of Christianity" with a pagan setting. 49 he adds that the devils plaguing "Poor Tom" in Shakespeare's version have the same names as the evil spirits in a book by samuel Harsnett, later Archbishop of York, that denounces the "fake" Catholic practice of exorcism. 50 Inscriptions at the venerable English College edit The names "Arthurus Stratfordus Wigomniensis" and "Gulielmus Clerkue stratfordiensis" are found within ancient inscriptions at the venerable English College, a seminary in Rome which has long trained Catholic clergy serving in Britain. Scholars have speculated that these names might be related to Shakespeare, who is alleged to have visited the city of Rome twice during his life. 51 52 One critic states, "One cannot quite speak of a consensus among Shakespeare scholars on this point, though the reluctance of some to admit the possibility of Catholicism in Shakespeare's family is becoming harder to maintain." 53 Other research by jesuit scholars argues strongly. 54 Protestantism edit In 1843, a presentation of Shakesperean religious extracts was published by sir Frederick beilby watson and Frederic Dan Huntington as the religious and Moral Sentences Culled from the works of Shakespeare, compared with Sacred Passages Drawn from Holy Writ ' 55 This. In Watson's words, this was carried out "by proving legs from Shakespeare's own writings, that he lived and died as a true protestant collecting "presumptive evidence that the tenets of the religion which he professed were not of the roman Catholic persuasion." A century later, Shakespeare. Rowse wrote a biography of Shakespeare, where, similarly, he firmly asserted that the writer was not a secret Catholic, but a protestant: "He was an orthodox, confirming member of the Church into which he had been baptised, was brought up and married, in which his.
43 According to professor Jeffrey knapp, the work of scholars like peter Milward, who believe that "the deepest inspiration in Shakespeare's plays is both religious and Christian has had "little influence on recent Shakespeare scholarship". 44 John Finnis and Patrick martin have argued more recently that Catholic martyr Anne line is the eponymous phoenix of The Phoenix and the turtle and her husband Roger is the eponymous turtle. 45 They believe, with Asquith, that the poem's 'bird of loudest lay' represents the composer William Byrd and that the crow is the jesuit Henry garnet. 46 revision of older plays edit Although Shakespeare commonly adapted existing tales, typically myths or works in another language, joseph pearce claims that King John, king lear and Hamlet were all works that had been done recently and in English with an anti-catholic bias, and. 47 pearce believes otherwise he would not have "reinvented the wheel revisiting recent English plays. 47 Peter Milward is among those who hold the view that Shakespeare engaged in rebuttal of recent English "anti-papist" works. 47 Again, david beauregard points out that, in the Italian source for measure for measure, the secular heroine is seduced and finally married, but Shakespeare revises his characterisation, so that her counterpart Isabella becomes a poor Clare novice who maintains her virginity and does not.
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33 Other indications have been detected in the sympathetic view of religious life expressed in the phrase "thrice blessed 34 scholastic theology in The Phoenix and the turtle, sympathetic allusions to English Jesuit Edmund Campion in Twelfth Night, 35 and many other instances. More recently it has been suggested that Shakespeare was simply playing upon an English Catholic tradition, rather than actually being Catholic, and was using the symbolic nature of Catholic ceremony to embellish his own theatre. 36 Literary scholar david Daniell arrives at a similar conclusion, but from the opposite direction: as a good Protestant Shakespeare used many biblical allusions and"tions in his works, but only because his audience, well versed in the bible in English, would quickly take his. 37 However, david beauregard points out that the plays echo both Protestant and Catholic translations of the bible, with some forty verbal correspondences to the 1582 Rheims New Testament, and they also conflict with the Elizabethan Homilies on at least ten theological topics, such. 38 Schoenbaum suspects Catholic sympathies of some kind or another in Shakespeare and his family, but considers the writer himself to be a less than pious person with essentially worldly motives: ".the artist takes precedence over the votary".
39 Literary scholar and Jesuit Father Peter Milward and the writer Clare Asquith are among those who have written that Catholic sympathies are detectable in Shakespeare's works. 40 41 Asquith believed that Shakespeare uses terms such as "high" when referring to catholic characters and "low" when referring to Protestants (the terms refer to their altars ) and "light" or "fair" to refer to catholic and "dark" to refer to Protestant, a reference. Asquith also detects in Shakespeare's work the use of a simple code used by the jesuit underground in England which took the form of a mercantile terminology wherein priests you were 'merchants' and souls were 'jewels those pursuing them were 'creditors and the tyburn gallows, where. 42 The jesuit underground used this code so their correspondences looked like innocuous commercial essay letters, and Asquith believed that Shakespeare also used this code. 42 Asquith's conclusions, however, have met with considerable criticism and evidence of a hidden code has been called "dubious".
He was thought to have rushed his marriage ceremony, as Anne was three months pregnant. 20 Historical sources edit In 1611 the historian John Speed asserted Shakespeare's links with Catholicism, accusing him of satirising in Henry iv the lollard (or proto-Protestant) martyr John Oldcastle (first portrayed by Shakespeare under his character's real name, then the alias John Falstaff after complaints. Modern critics have attributed other motives for Shakespeare's portrayal; the story of Oldcastle was a popular one and telling the tale from the "Papist" perspective (while acknowledging that perhaps this was a perspective with which Shakespeare already had some affinity) was an effective and familiar. A direct explanation, however, comes from the facts of the story in the contemporary accounts of the period; Prince henry had left his dear friend Oldcastle to his fate after he had failed to persuade the stubborn old knight to recant when he was imprisoned. 24 Archdeacon Richard davies, a 17th-century Anglican cleric, wrote of Shakespeare: "He dyed a papyst".
The catholic Encyclopedia (1912) states that "davies, an Anglican clergyman, could have had no conceivable motive for misrepresenting the matter in these private notes and as he lived in the neighbouring county of Gloucestershire he may be echoing a local tradition" but concludes that davies'. Chambers and Ian Wilson, joseph pearce maintains that one of the most compelling pieces of evidence is Shakespeare's purchase of Blackfriars Gatehouse, a place that had remained in Catholic hands since the time of the reformation, and was notorious for Jesuit conspiracies, priest holes. The same year that one john Robinson was named as Shakespeare's tenant there, robinson's brother Edward entered the seminary at the English College in Rome; 28 Shakespeare ensured that the tenant Robinson remained in the house. Shakespeare's daughter Susanna, who inherited the house, continued his tenancy until 1639. 29 Schoenbaum, however, assigns a purely fiscal motive to the purchase: after examining the complex financial arrangements surrounding the transaction he concludes, "an investment, pure and simple". 30 Textual evidence edit An increasing number of scholars look to evidence from Shakespeares work, such as the placement of young Hamlet as a student at Wittenberg while old Hamlet's ghost is in purgatory, as suggestive of a catholic worldview, 31 but these speculations can.
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14 Thomas Jenkins, who succeeded Hunt as teacher in the grammar school, was a student of Edmund Campion at St John's College, oxford. Jenkins's successor at the grammar school in 1579, john Cottam, was the brother of Jesuit priest Thomas Cottam. The "lost years" (15851592) edit john Aubrey, in 1693, reported that Shakespeare had been a country schoolmaster, 15 a tale augmented in the 20th type century with the theory that his employer might have been Alexander Hoghton of Lancashire, 16 a prominent Catholic landowner who left. 17 Shakespeare's grandfather Richard had also once used the name Shakeshafte. Peter Ackroyd adds that examinations of the marginal notes in the hoghton family book copy of Edward Hall 's Chronicles, an important source for Shakespeare's early histories, "indicate the probability that Shakespeare and the annotator were the same man, but do not by any means prove. 19 In 1586 the crown named Frith, who maintained the appearance of Protestantism, as a catholic priest. 20 Some surmise Shakespeare married in Temple Grafton rather than the Anglican church in Stratford in order for his wedding to be performed as a catholic sacrament.
The tract was found in the 18th century in the rafters of a house which had once been John Shakespeare's, and was seen and described by the reputable scholar Edmond Malone. Malone later changed his mind and declared that he thought the tract was a forgery. 6 Although the document has since been lost, Anthony holden writes that Malone's reported wording of the tract is linked to a testament written by Charles Borromeo and circulated in England by Edmund Campion, copies of which still nursing exist in Italian and English. 7 Other research, however, suggests that the borromeo testament is a 17th-century artefact (at the earliest dated from 1638 was not printed for missionary work, and could never have been in the possession of John Shakespeare. 8 John Shakespeare was listed as one who did not attend church services, but this was "for feare of processe for Debtte according to the commissioners, not because he was a recusant. 9 Shakespeare's mother, mary Arden, was a member of a conspicuous and determinedly catholic family in Warwickshire. 10 In 1606, his daughter Susanna was listed as one of the residents of Stratford who failed to take (Anglican) Holy communion at Easter, which may suggest Catholic sympathies. 11 It may, however, also be a sign of Puritan sympathies; Susannah was, according to some statements, of a puritanical bent. 12 Shakespeare's schooling edit four of the six schoolmasters at the grammar school of Shakespeare's youth, king's New School in Stratford, were catholic sympathisers, 13 and Simon Hunt, who may have been one of Shakespeare's teachers, later became a jesuit priest.
(the bishop of Winchester) and not parish officials. The bishop then remitted the outstanding sum to Shakespeare's former parish "as a matter of convenience". 2, shakespeare's family edit, in 1559, five years before Shakespeare's birth, the. Elizabethan Religious Settlement finally severed the Church of England from the roman Catholic Church. In the ensuing years, extreme pressure was placed on England's Catholics to accept the practices of the Church of England, and recusancy laws made illegal any service not found in the book of Common Prayer, including the roman Catholic Mass. 3 In Shakespeare's lifetime there was a substantial and widespread quiet resistance to the newly imposed reforms. 4 Some scholars, using both historical and literary evidence, have argued that Shakespeare was one of these recusants. 5 Some scholars also believe there is evidence that several members of Shakespeare's family were recusant Catholics. The strongest evidence is a tract professing secret Catholicism signed by john Shakespeare, father of the poet.
Contents, shakespeare's known religious affiliation edit, shakespeare and his immediate family were conforming members of the established. When Shakespeare was young, his father, john Shakespeare, was elected to several municipal offices, serving as an alderman and culminating in a term as bailiff, the chief magistrate of the town council, all of which required being a church member in good standing, and. Shakespeare's birth and that of his siblings were entered into the church register, as were the births of his three children and the burials of his family members. Edmund, who followed him to london as an actor and died there, was buried. St saviour's in, southwark "with a forenoone knell of the great bell most likely paid for by the poet. As leaser of the parish tithes in Stratford, he was a lay rector of the church. He and his wife were buried in the church chancel, and a monument that included a half-figure bust of the poet was set into the north wall of the chancel. Shakespeare failed twice to pay his taxes for. St Helen's parish, bishopsgate, london, where he is listed by name for the year 1596/7, and he is not among those in any of the annual lists fuller of residents of the Clink parish (St saviours) compiled by the officers who made the rounds to collect.
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The religious views of William Shakespeare are the subject of an ongoing scholarly debate dating back more than 150 years. The general assumption about. William Shakespeare 's religious affiliation is that he was a conforming member of the established. However, many scholars have speculated about his personal religious beliefs, based on analysis of the historical record and of his published work, with claims that Shakespeare's family may have had. Catholic sympathies and that he himself was a secret Catholic. Other scholars have speculated that he was an atheist. Due to the paucity of direct summary evidence, no general agreement has been reached.