The politics and religious turmoil of 16th century England provided Shakespeare with the fascinating characters and intriguing plots. From the publication of Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, which some historians argue ignited the Protestant cause, to the publication of the Geneva Bible in 1560, English religious history has dramatically influenced Shakespeare’s work. Obvious historical plays aside — Henry VII, Henry VIII, and Richard II — many other plays demonstrate the pervasive nature of religion at the time, such as The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, Coriolanus, and Hamlet. Explore the various religious landmarks in 16th and 17th century English history, and observe how Shakespeare draws on recent historical events to fuel his playwriting.
Are there any significant dates that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.
Featured Image: “Barnes and his Fellow-Prisoners Seeking Forgiveness” by Joseph Martin Kronheim. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons