The Unheard Prayer: Religious Toleration in Shakespeare's Drama
Titus shoots his arrows bearing petitions for justice to the gods; Claudius asks what form of prayer can serve my turn; Lear wishes he could crack the vault of heaven with his prayers. Again and again, Shakespeare dramatises the scenario of the unheard prayer, in which the one who prays does so full well in the knowledge that no one is listening, interested, or even there at all. The scenario is keyed to the anxieties that surrounded the act of praying itself, so full as it was with controversy, the centrepiece of sectarian dispute over what was good and bad religion. This study reads the unheard prayer scenario as itself an appeal for a vision of tolerance, unobtainable perhaps, but nevertheless desired and imagined.
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All’s appeal audience belief blessing Bolingbroke breath Cambridge Catholic Chapter Christ Christian Church Claudius Claudius’s confession confessional Cordelia culture Cymbeline death derrida display divine dramatic Eamon Duffy early modern edgar elizabeth england example exchange eyes faith Folio forgiveness gesture God’s gods grace greenblatt Hamlet hear heaven helen henry henry iV holy imagery Jacques Jacques Derrida Juliet King Lear King’s language Lear’s LÚvinas London lord Love’s Labour’s Lost meaning miracle offered one’s oxford parallel peace performance petition piety play’s plea poetic political pray protestant Quarto Queen reading reconciliation Reformation relationship religion religious repentance represents response Richard Hooker Richard ii richard Wilson robert southwell role romeo scene sense sermon shakespeare shakespeare’s play social sonnet soul southwell southwell’s speaks spiritual stage Stephen Greenblatt Targoff tears theatre thee thomas thou tion Titus Andronicus titus’s trans unheard prayer university press Winter’s Tale words