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Evidence of Shakespeare’s Catholicism

For many, Shakespeare’s faith is inconsequential: for Catholics it is important. His lineage proves his Catholicism. His paternal grandfather, Richard, worked on the estate of a prominent and devout Catholic family. His father, John, married a daughter from this family, Mary. Despite the difference in their class, the unifying trait is their Faith. John became a prominent member of the community. His fortunes began to fall circa 1577 or 1578 due to the persecution of Catholics. Young William at 11 years old witnessed the great medieval Mystery Plays depicting the Catholic Faith, thus exposing him to theater as Catholic education. Later as a young playwright in London, William knew a number of prominent Catholics. When he retired, he purchased a property in London that was later learned to be a Mass center, where priests could come and secretly say Mass. Why is Shakespeare so important? T.S. Eliot said that Dante and Shakespeare share the world between them. Dante is a spiritual writer, Shakespeare is secular; he has one foot in the medieval world and the other in the modern world. He is a divided man and uses drama to battle out the differences. He is one of the greatest storytellers of all time.

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