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Ghosts,witches and Shakespeare - the Age of Shakespeare

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Elizabethan people in general were on emotional lot and the ferocity of their entertainment reflected the fact. Bear-baiting, for example, was a highly popular spectator sport, and the structure where they were generally held was not unlike the theatres of the day. A bear was chained to o stoke in the centre of the pit, and a pack large dogs was turned loose to bit, or fight, him. The bear eventually tired fortunately for the remaining dogs! , and, well, you can figure the rest out for yourself. Then there were the public hangings, whippings, or drawing and quarterings f or on afternoon’s entertainment. 5o, the violence in some of Shakespeare’s plays was clearly directed at an audience that revealed in it. imagine the effect of having on doctor pretend to bite off his own tongue and spit o chunk of row liver thot he had carefully pocked in his jaw into the faces of the groundlings

Despite the progressing enlightenment of the Renaissance, superstition was still rampant among Elizabethan Londoners, and abelite in such things as astrology was common (Rolph P. Boos ond Borbqro M. Hohno, "The Age of Shakespeare," Social Backgrounds of English Literature, [Boston: Little, Brown ond Co., 1931] 93). Through the position of stars many Elizabethans believed thot coming events could be foretold even to the extent of mopping out o person's entire life.

Where witches and ghosts were concerned, it was commonly accepted that they existed and the person who scoffed of them was considered foolish, or even likely to be cursed. Consider the fact thot Shakespeare’s Macbeth was supposedly cursed due to the ploywright's having given way a f zw more of the secrets of witchcraft thon the weird sisters may hove approved of. For o time, productions experienced on uncanny asssortment of mishaps ond injuries. Even today, it is often considered bod luck for members of the cost ond crew to mention the name of the production, simply referred to as the Scottish Ploy. fan preaching a sermon, Bishop jewel warned the Queen: "ft may please your Grace to understand that witches and sorcerers within these lost few years are marvellously increased. Your Grace's subjects pine woo, even unto death; their colour fodeth; their flesh rotted; their speech is benumbed: their senses bereft" (Wolier Bromberg, "Witchcroft and Psychotherapy", The Mind of Mon [New York: Harper Torchbooks 1954], 54).

Ghosts were recognized by the



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