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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: June ::
Re: Was Shakespeare a Catholic?
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0483.  Thursday, 15 June 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Mack Carter <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Jun 1995 10:51:33 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0475  Re: Was Shakespeare a Catholic?
 
(2)     From:   Daniel P. Tompkins <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Jun 1995 14:00:27 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0475 Re: Was Shakespeare a Catholic?
 
(3)     From:   Stephanie Hughes <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Jun 1995 18:21:53 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0475  Re: Was Shakespeare a Catholic?
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mack Carter <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Jun 1995 10:51:33 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 6.0475  Re: Was Shakespeare a Catholic?
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0475  Re: Was Shakespeare a Catholic?
 
It seems that Shakespeare had many men of the cloth in his comedies. I can't
see their use as a benefit to the Catholic Church and a sign of a person who
didn't question the "most highly charged religious centuries."
 
The the play "Loves Labor" Sir Nathaniel is noted as "a great feast of
languages and stolen the scraps."  Then in "As You Like It" Sir Oliver Martext
is called, "a most wicked Sir Oliver...a vile martext."  Then of course
everyone is blind in the "Twelfth Night" including the priest who you would
think could of had some wisdom by God to tell the difference.  Unfortunately,
that would change the play but, I don't recall Shakespeare saying it was a
young priest to be easily fooled.  I'm certain there are other characters that
don't meet with the desired view of a Catholic Church.  His views shown in the
character of Shylock the Jew of "The Merchant of Venice" are things the
Catholic Church wouldn't have wanted said at the time.  Remember, to the
Catholic Church Jews have been vermin bring diseases for the past 1900 years.
Who can read the "Merchant of Venice" and not say the Jew had a reason to hate
the Church.  This character had to be barb in the wheels of the Catholic
Church.
 
I will still call most of the conversation a bunch of "fluff" as people try to
make a man more Catholic by his work.  How many of us have our true religious
nature know by the people we work with?  Shouldn't they know better than a
person who reads our work?  I have friend that's Catholic, avoids using
Christ's name in vain but, if the truth be known he'll say Alla is equal in his
teachings and with him.  When my friend dies he's going to be known as a
Catholic and little else as the public sees him.
 
People seem to mis the fact plays of the time were written for the time as many
books are today.  Characters and scenes may hav even been deleted at times to
prevent conflict with the audience.  These are just needed tools of the theatre
world Shakespeare helped develop.
 
Was Shakespeare a Catholic?  He was from a Catholic family and baptised one,
that's public record.  The thing that makes him great is that he worked his
plays for his audience and with held the absolute answer to that question.  We
can't find anything of "matter" beyond a few bias scraps that he was Catholic,
so we turn to his "art" to try to learn it.  Yet, his art is sprayed with
different views that are all valid as Shylock's and his plays are noted to have
been made for the audience of the time giving the work a needed bias.  If the
views of Catholic Religion are of such importance to Shakespeare why would the
man make fun and point out its flaws to the public. In the end the only person
who knew Shakespeare's religious view was himself. I know only a fraction of my
friend's and I've know him for 6 years, we won't know a man's who lived
hundreds of years ago.  It's better to look at the political and social
structures Shakespeare wrote for and against to have a light understanding of
the man.  I don't think you will ever find concete matter from his art to his
religion and really isn't it a shame to label a person taking them away from
others who may think of him as like themselves. His works won't change and
there's no need for the label since the reasons of his writtings can be
explained for other reasons than religious ones.
 
Continue the discussion but, realize that if you label a person you make them
less than they might really be.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Daniel P. Tompkins <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Jun 1995 14:00:27 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0475 Re: Was Shakespeare a Catholic?
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0475 Re: Was Shakespeare a Catholic?
 
Maybe someone already mentioned this, but I think the father in Long Day's
Journey into Night insists that Shakespeare was an *Irish* Catholic.
 
Dan Tompkins
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Jun 1995 18:21:53 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0475  Re: Was Shakespeare a Catholic?
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0475  Re: Was Shakespeare a Catholic?
 
Yes, the author of the Shakespeare canon spent much of his life as a Catholic.
Having promised not to open questions of authorship, I will say no more. Anyone
who is interested in a fuller explanation can contact me directly at:
 

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 .
Stephanie Hughes
 

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