Shakespeare’s Romans: Politics and Ethics in ‘Julius Caesar’ and ‘Coriolanus’

What is the context for Shakespeare’s Roman plays? Why did classical Rome capture the interest of people in Renaissance England? Introduction When William Shakespeare first staged his Roman tragedies Julius Caesar (1599) and Coriolanus (c. 1608), he did not introduce his audience to new stories. Rather, he reworked characters and events with which most of[…]

Shakespeare in Plague-Ridden London

Despite the plague’s high contagiousness and terrifying symptoms, life in Elizabethan England went on. By Lindsey Rachel Hunt William Shakespeare died 400 years ago, in April of 2016. But, thanks to the plague’s many sweeps through London, he could have actually died much, much sooner. While the plague hit London particularly hard in 1665, it[…]

The Armored Body as Trophy in Shakespeare’s Roman Plays

The treatment of the military subject in Shakespeare’s Roman plays complicates early modern cultural understandings of the material aspects of militant nostalgia. Remembering Rome, performing Rome… Introduction At the end of Book 12 of Virgil’s Aeneid, Aeneas is described as “stetit acer in armis” or “ferocious in his armor,” a colossal and threatening force, a[…]

Shakespeare’s ‘Richard III’ and the Will to Power

Shakespeare drew on earlier depictions of Richard III and other ruthless rulers in order to create his own power-hungry king, and it has influenced later depictions of megalomania. Introduction Richard III is early Shakespeare. Probably composed in the early 1590s, it’s the work of a playwright in his late twenties, author of two comedies (The[…]