The Catholic Bard

Shakespeare & the ‘Old Religion'

Ever since a seventeenth-century Protestant clergyman, Richard Davies, remarked that “William Shakespeare dyed a papist,” Shakespeare’s religion has been a thorny subject for scholars and biographers. Protestant England would much rather he had not died a papist. Three hundred years after Shakespeare’s death, English Catholics were still viewed as a fifth column liable to join forces with the country’s enemies at a moment’s notice. Even today, England’s entry into the...

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About the Author

Clare Asquith is the author of Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare (Public Affairs).

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