Scepticism and Shakespeare

(3663 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay


The literary career of William Shakespeare coincides directly with a period during which early modern England witnessed a vigorous new interest in philosophical scepticism. Common-sense doubt about religious, moral, and political orthodoxy exists in every culture, but published writings from Elizabethan and Jacobean England display a steadily-increasing familiarity with the lexicon and argumentative tactics of classical scepticism – particularly as this scepticism was elaborated in Renaissance Italy and France. Shakespeare himself may never have read the epistemological treatises of antiquity, but his plays at times exhibit striking affinities with the concerns and attitudes of a thoughtful, probing scepticism which …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Citation:
Hamlin, William M.. "Scepticism and Shakespeare". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 January 2009
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=5769, accessed 30 August 2015.]


Related Groups

  1. Comparative Literature, Reception, Influences
  2. English Renaissance Theatre - Elizabethan