Steve Sohmer
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Shakespeare rewrites the Holy Ghost
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This chapter focuses on the identification and enumeration of a constellation of literary devices William Shakespeare adopted for the purpose of publicly interrogating banned theological topics in his plays. It offers to interpret certain responses to Scripture, doctrine, and dogma in Shakespeare's plays. Shakespeare's most sophisticated tactics of subversion relied on rubrics of the Elizabethan liturgy which rigidly linked verses of the Old and New Testament with particular dates in the calendar. In Shakespeare's era, free-speaking as well as access to printed documents, including even Scripture was fiercely controlled by censorious civil and ecclesiastical authorities. As a consequence, Elizabethans were masters at reading between the lines. They were also heirs of the Quadrata tradition which taught Christians to receive the words of Jesus, the Apostles, and the Holy Ghost as symbols, signs, analogies, metaphors, topologies, and ciphers.

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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


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