This chapter examines the link between sin and dirtiness, disease or contagion in Shakespeare by looking at some key examples in King Lear, Timon of Athens, Othello, Richard III, Hamlet,Othello, and Macbeth. It also compares Shakespeare’s sometimes gruesome descriptions of degradation with those found in the Protestant theology of Richard Hooker and John Calvin, who each provide dark visons of human impurity. It also cross references Catholic teachings on sin as embodied in Thomas Aquinas. In the process, the chapter attempts to discover what was sacred to Shakespeare.
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