"Judgment," writes Bernthal, "is the archetypal situation for Shakespeare, the one event that every human being will have to face, on one or both sides of the grave." Bernthal's study portrays a Shakespeare heavily indebted in his notions of judgmentand in the comic and dramatic uses to which he putsto the doctrines of Christian theology, both Catholic and Protestant. Bernthal also shows how the legal culture and trials of Shakespeare's time, including the famous trial of Sir Walter Raleigh, influenced Shakespeare's approach to the difficulties surrounding human judgmenthow to assess the truthfulness of testimony, determine the appropriate degree of punishment, and evaluate the justice of proposed remedies. Above all, Bernthal carefully attends to the ways in which Shakespeare probed the tension between justice and mercy in all its complexity.
|What They're Saying...||
"Written for the lay reader, provides a captivating synthesis of literary, historical, and legal scholarship."
"He relates in rich detail how plays both major and minor relate to two Elizabethan contexts: Christian theology and English legal tradition."
"Bernthal's analyses, often accompanied with straightforward readings of the plays' narratives, are clear and informative. His analysis of The Tempest rescues that poor hijacked play from the hands of its anti-imperialist critics and opens up its manifold mysteries with genuine sensitivity and exquisite sense."
|Eligible for Readers Club Discount||Yes|