Scepticism and Shakespeare

(3663 words)

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 …

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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 23 April 2014.]


Related Groups

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