Shakespeare and the brave new world of early modern science

Benning, Ashley Rebecca (2018). Shakespeare and the brave new world of early modern science. University of Birmingham. M.A.

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This thesis examines how Shakespeare’s characters come to create knowledge through the use of early modern scientific modes of thought. Chapter one looks at scientific cataloging as a means of objectifying living things in botanicals, herbals, and anatomies and how this mode of defining the world is illustrated in several of Shakespeare’s plays, such as Julius Caesar, Macbeth, The Tempest, and Titus Andronicus. Chapter two explores the art of prediction by reading signs in nature, such as astronomy, astrology, and prognostication, and focuses on Macbeth and Julius Caesar. Chapter three looks at knowledge creation through the scientific method, specifically hypothesizing, experimenting, and analyzing results. This method is especially evident in Hamlet. The conclusion uses The Tempest as an example which encompasses all these types of knowledge creation. This thesis ends with the assertion that though knowledge about the world is created through these various methods, the characters who are most successful are those who are able to discover truth about the human spirit.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.A.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.A.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, The Shakespeare Institute
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature


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