Religion

Was Shakespeare a Catholic?

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SAN FRANCISCO -- A new book just released from Ignatius Press, "Through Shakespeare's Eyes: Seeing the Catholic Presence in the Plays", gives further evidence of what many people have long suspected: that the famous William Shakespeare was indeed a Catholic. Fulfilling the promise he made in his previous book, "The Quest for Shakespeare", bestselling literary writer Joseph Pearce analyzes in this volume three of Shakespeare's immortal plays -- "The Merchant of Venice", "Hamlet" and "King Lear" -- in order to uncover the Bard's Catholic beliefs.

In "The Quest for Shakespeare", which has been made into an EWTN television series, Pearce delved into the known biographical evidence for Shakespeare's Catholicism. Here the popular and provocative author digs into the plays, which were written and first performed during the English crown's persecution of Catholics.

Pearce explains, "I wrote 'Through Shakespeare's Eyes' as a sequel to my previous book, 'The Quest for Shakespeare'. Whereas the earlier book examined the evidence for Shakespeare's Catholicism to be gleaned from the documentary evidence of his life, this new book looks at the evidence for his Catholicism that emerges from the text of his plays. Taken together, I hope that the two books will form a sort of gothic arch with one supporting the central arguments of the other and vice versa. Put simply, these two books constitute a solid and challenging argument for the Bard's Catholic faith."

Though the evidence for Shakespeare's Catholicism has been studied before now, thanks, in part, to the unique contribution of Joseph Pearce, the Bard's genius is being analyzed in the open air of the public arena, the very place where Shakespeare intended his dramas to entertain and edify.

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In this book, Pearce provides a new and enriching way to read Shakespeare, "Since the evidence shows that Shakespeare was a believing Catholic, it is clear that seeing his play through his Catholic eyes is the best way, indeed the only way, of understanding the deepest meanings that they convey. The book endeavors, therefore, to see the plays through Shakespeare's eyes, giving us a 'Bard's-eye' view of their true meaning."