Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shakespeare and the Bubonic Plague

William Shakespeare lived in the Elizabethan era when the bubonic plague, sometimes referred to as the Black Death, was virulent. He was known to have a terrible fear of the deadly disease and its consequences and this is hardly surprising as it touched so many areas of his life including his life as an actor at the Globe Theater. There were high mortality rates amongst Elizabethan children and this was true of the brothers and sisters of Shakespeare some of whom were struck down by the Bubonic plague:

He lost his sisters Joan, Margaret ( just babies) and Anne (aged 7) to the deadly plague
He also lost his brother Edmund (aged 27)
But the greatest loss to William Shakespeare was his only son, Hamnet, who died when he was just eleven years old

I wonder if the bubonic plague has been mentioned in any of his work??

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