Steve Sohmer
Search for other papers by Steve Sohmer in
Current site
Google Scholar
‘Doubt thou the starres are fire’
The new philosophy in Hamlet
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

Hamlet is bandying matters of cosmology which were the burning issues throughout William Shakespeare's lifetime. The author's own view is that Shakespeare's religious opinions reflected the complexities, and relative tolerance of Queen Elizabeth I's Religious Settlement. There are any numbers of Catholics in Shakespeare's plays just as there were such persons in his family, his England, and in Europe. Shakespeare regularly alludes to rituals of the old Church baptism in Comedy of Errors, shriving and confession in Hamlet, creeping to the cross in Julius Caesar, pilgrimage in All's Well, and Holy Saturday rituals in Othello. In Hamlet Shakespeare even treats Purgatory with respect. None of this proves beyond doubt that Shakespeare was Catholic. But it does prove he was tolerant. Shakespeare's Old Hamlet was Catholic. For Hamlet and Horatio Purgatory does not exist; for Old Hamlet's Ghost it does.

  • Collapse
  • Expand

All of MUP's digital content including Open Access books and journals is now available on manchesterhive.


Shakespeare for the wiser sort

Solving Shakespeare’s riddles in The Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet, King John, 1–2 Henry IV, The Merchant of Venice, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Othello, Macbeth and Cymberline


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 314 183 19
Full Text Views 78 16 0
PDF Downloads 37 8 0