Shakespeare and Tolerance

Topics: Joke, Toleration, Laughter Pages: 300 (107666 words) Published: January 3, 2013
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Shakespeare’s remarkable ability to detect and express important new currents and moods in his culture often led him to dramatise human interactions in terms of the presence or absence of tolerance. Differences of religion, gender, nationality, and what is now called ‘race’ are important in most of Shakespeare’s plays, and varied ways of bridging these differences by means of sympathy and understanding are often depicted. The full development of a tolerant society is still incomplete, and this study demonstrates how the perceptions Shakespeare showed in relation to its earlier development are still instructive and valuable today. Many recent studies of Shakespeare’s work have focused on reflections of the oppression or containment of minority, deviant, or non-dominant groups or outlooks. This book reverses that trend and examines Shakespeare’s fascination with the desires that underlie tolerance, including in relation to religion, race, and sexuality, through close analysis of many Shakespearian plays, passages, and themes. b. j . so ko l is Emeritus Professor of English at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His many publications include Art and Illusion in ‘The Winter’ s Tale’ (1994) and, with Mary Sokol, Shakespeare, Law and Marriage (Cambridge, 2003).



Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo Cambridge University Press The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York Information on this title: © B. J. Sokol 2008 This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provision of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press. First published in print format 2008


978-0-511-46389-1 978-0-521-87912-5

eBook (EBL) hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of urls for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

For Mary Sokol, my collaborator, with love


List of abbreviated titles Introduction 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Shakespeare, jokes, humour, and tolerance Shakespeare, gender, and tolerance Shakespeare, tolerance, and nationality Shakespeare, tolerance, and religion ‘Race’, part one ‘Race’, part two: Shakespeare and slavery Afterword: tolerance as a species of love

page viii x 1 27 57 90 113 142 169 175 217 242

Notes Bibliography Index


Abbreviated titles

Unless otherwise noted all Shakespeare texts will be cited from the electronic version of the Oxford Shakespeare, edited by Wells and Taylor. This edition supplies the title abbreviations used in the notes, which follow: 1H4 2H4 1H6 ADO AIT ANT AWW AYL COR CYL CYM ERR H5 HAM JC JN LC LLL LRF LRQ LUC MAC MM MND MV OTH Henry IV, part 1 Henry IV, part 2 Henry VI, part 1 Much Ado About Nothing All Is True (Henry VIII) Antony and Cleopatra All’ s Well That Ends Well As You Like It Coriolanus The First Part of the Contention (Henry VI, part 2) Cymbeline The Comedy of Errors Henry V Hamlet Julius Caesar King John A Lover’ s Complaint Love’ s Labor’ s Lost The Tragedy of King Lear (Folio) The History of King Lear (Quarto) The Rape of Lucrece Macbeth Measure for Measure A Midsummer Night’ s Dream The Merchant of Venice Othello viii

List of abbreviated titles PER R2 R3 RDY ROM SHR SON STM TGV TIM TIT TMP TN TNK TRO VEN WIV WT Pericles, Prince of Tyre Richard II Richard III Richard, Duke of York (Henry VI, part 3) Romeo and Juliet The Taming of the Shrew The Sonnets Sir Thomas More The Two Gentlemen of Verona Timon of...

Citations: 5 ‘race’, part one
1 Michael Banton, quoted in Niro, 2003, 41
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