Despite the presence of hundreds of Biblical allusions in Shakespeare, this is the first book to explore the pattern and significance of those references in relation to a selection of his greatest plays. It reveals the Bible as a rich source for Shakespeare's uses of myth, history, comedy, and tragedy, his techniques of staging, and his ways of characterizing rulers, magicians, and teachers in the image of the Bible's multifaceted God. This book also discloses the ways in which Shakespeare's plays offer both pious and irreverent interpretations of the Scriptures comparable to those presented by his contemporary writers, artists, philosophers and politicians. After an opening chapter comparing the Bible as a fragmented yet unified collection of 46 books with the fragmented yet unified First Folio collection of Shakespeare's 36 plays, each of the following six chapters matches a succeeding book of the Bible with a representative play. This study, though grounded in recent scholarship in Shakespeare and Biblical studies, is addressed to people with limited knowledge of either of its two subjects as well as to experts in both.
Physical Description:165 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm. print
Publisher:Oxford [U.K.] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2000.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 147-161) and index.
Introduction: 'kiss the book' -- Posterity and prosperity: Genesis in The tempest -- Historical types: Moses, David, and Henry V -- 'Within a foot of the extreme verge': The book of Job and King Lear -- True lies and false truths: Measure for measure and the Gospel -- 'Dangerous conceits' and 'Proofs of holy writ": allusion in The merchant of Venice and Paul's Letter to the Romans -- A masque of revelation: The tempest as Apocalypse.