The Trial of Man: Christianity and Judgment in the World of Shakespeare

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ISI Books, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 316 pages
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"In The Trial of Man: Christianity and Judgment in the World of Shakespeare, Craig Bernthal, a lawyer and Shakespeare scholar, shows how understanding the Elizabethan religious and legal context in which Shakespeare lived illuminates many of Shakespeare's works, including The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, The Winter's Tale, The Tempest, Henry VIII, and Henry VI, Part II." ""Judgment," writes Bernthal, "is the archetypal situation for Shakespeare, the one event that every human being will have to face, on one of both sides of the grave," Bernthal's study protrays a Shakespeare heavily indebted in his notion of judgment - and in the comic and dramatic uses to which he puts it - to 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 judgment - how 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." "Written for the lay reader, The Trial of Man is a captivating synthesis of literacy, historical, and legal scholarship."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Contents

Henry VI Part
3
Hamlet and the Limits of Human Judgment
49
Trial as Political Theater
129
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Craig Bernthal is Professor of English at California State University in Fresno.

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