Shakespeare, Catholicism, and the Middle Ages

Maimed Rights

  • Alfred Thomas

Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

About this book


Whereas traditional scholarship assumed that William Shakespeare used the medieval past as a negative foil to legitimate the present, Shakespeare, Catholicism, and the Middle Ages offers a revisionist perspective, arguing that the playwright valorizes the Middle Ages in order to critique the oppressive nature of the Tudor-Stuart state. In examining Shakespeare’s Richard II, The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and The Winter’s Tale, the text explores how Shakespeare repossessed the medieval past to articulate political and religious dissent. By comparing these and other plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries with their medieval analogues, Alfred Thomas argues that Shakespeare was an ecumenical writer concerned with promoting tolerance in a highly intolerant and partisan age.



medieval literary models medieval literary techniques medieval motifs medieval art Early modern literature renaissance literature Shakespeare and the middle ages Catholicism in Tudor England religious freedom Renaissance England Shakespeare and Catholicism Christopher Marlowe Jews in Renaissance England

Authors and affiliations

  • Alfred Thomas
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Illinois at ChicagoChicago, ILUSA

Bibliographic information