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date: 11 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Theology infuses the plays and poems of Shakespeare and Marlowe. The questions are, what theology, and is there any consistency in its employment? Some contemporaries or near contemporaries showed unease over what were perceived as unorthodox religious positions in both of the dramatists' plays. Three issues notably complicate attempts to explore religion with Shakespeare and Marlowe. First, the understanding of the complexities surrounding the nature of both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in England at the end of the sixteenth century is still far from secure. Second, English drama as a literary genre in the late sixteenth century departed from being part of its society's wider religious observances, as it had been in the Middle Ages. Third, and in some respects most significant, Renaissance drama is designed as performed language. This makes these playwrights something of an anomaly in this section called ‘theological ways of reading literature’.

Keywords: theology, Jew of Malta, unorthodox religion, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Renaissance drama

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