Shakespeare's plays were the product of his culture and reflect the daily life of Elizabethans. This book examines the religious background of his works and helps students use his plays to understand religion in Elizabethan England. The initial chapters survey the role of religion in Shakespeare's world. The volume then looks at religion in his plays and how productions from different periods have addressed the religious issues of his drama. A chapter then overviews criticism on Shakespeare and religion, while a selection of primary documents illuminates his religious milieu. Students often find the Elizabethan world fascinating yet challenging. The same can be said of Shakespeare's plays, which reflect the daily life and concerns of Elizabethan England and grew out of his milieu. Written for students, this book illuminates the religious life of Elizabethan England, promotes a greater understanding of Shakespeare's plays, and uses Shakespeare's works to examine Early Modern religious culture.
The volume begins with a quick overview of the origins of Elizabethan religious traditions, followed by a more detailed consideration of the chief religious beliefs and concerns of Shakespeare's world. It then discusses the role of religion in Shakespeare's plays. This is followed by a look at how various productions have interpreted his religious concerns. A review of criticism on Shakespeare and religion follows, along with a selection of primary documents related to religion in his world. A glossary defines key terms and concepts, and a bibliography cites print and electronic resources for further study. Literature students will welcome this book as a guide to Shakespeare's plays, while history students will value it for using his plays to examine religion in the Early Modern era.
Christopher Baker is Professor of English at Armstrong Atlantic State University. He edited Absolutism and the Scientific Revolution, 1600-1720: A Biographical Dictionary (Greenwood, 2002), and his articles have appeared in such journals as Comparative Drama, Explorations in Renaissance Culture, and the Journal of Modern Literature.