Shakespeare and the Jesuits

At the Catholic Herald, Clare Asquith considers the influence of the Jesuits on European drama:

What has been sidelined for centuries, however, is the possibility that this blueprint was conceived, not by Shakespeare himself, certainly not by his English predecessors, but by the acknowledged educators of Europe – the Jesuits. Central to the revolutionary Jesuit system of education was drama, and that drama had certain qualities. It had to have a high moral purpose – to win spectators ‘from worldly vanity’. But it was far from pious. Its intended audience was often influential and mainly secular, and included both Protestant and Catholic, nobleman and artisan, an eager audience as it turned out who from the mid 16th to the mid 18th century packed the burgeoning Jesuit theatres across Europe from Prague to Messina, constantly demanding more, and pouring money into ever more lavish productions. 

 

Advertisement
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Women served as deacons in Europe for about a millennium in a variety of ministerial and sacramental roles.
Brandon SanchezJanuary 15, 2019
In preparation for the gathering in Abu Dhabi, I find myself asking why my conversations with the future Pope Francis so powerfully affected both of us.
Abraham SkorkaJanuary 15, 2019
Photo: iStock
Included on the list is John T. Ryan, S.J., who from 1989 to 1994 was an associate editor for development at America.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 15, 2019
Did you ever wonder why Jesus was baptized? What sins did Jesus have to repent of? Nothing.
James Martin, S.J.January 14, 2019