Monday, 6 July 2015

The Catholic Shakespeare - a TV documentary

A recommendation for an excellent, detailed, evocative four-part TV documentary - In Search of Shakespeare, by that doyen of British TV historians, Michael Wood:

As well as being just fascinating in general; a specific interest is that Wood takes seriously the thesis that Shakespeare was a secret and secretive Roman Catholic - an idea which lacks direct confirmation, but which is supported by a large amount of impressive indirect evidence.

What I also got from this documentary was confirmation that, for all its unmatched glories, Elizabethan England was a terrible place - suffocating in its religiously-inspired and -excused cruelty and terror.

(When Christian zeal and courage become contaminated by ambition, greed and hatred, then the consequences for human behaviour are horrific. This is why the Apostle Paul was so emphatic that, unless underpinned by love, every other virtue, all system, all perfection of doctrine and devoutness of observance is rendered worthless trash - or worse.)

Which makes all the more remarkable and admirable the unsurpassed excellence, and glorious warmth of human spirit, of Shakespeare and other great writers of that era.