Father David Beauregard has more evidence in his new book than you could shake a speare at.
Father Beauregard claims that the theological content of the bard's plays is overwhelmingly Catholic. Take the following examples from Father Beauregard's Catholic Theology in Shakespeare's Plays (University of Delaware Press):
- Anglican clergyman, the 17th-century cleric Richard Davies, wrote that the great playwright "died a Papist."
- "Catholic Theology in Shakespeare's Plays" (University of Delaware Press), that Shakespeare was Catholic.
- The ghost of Hamlet's murdered father tells his son that he is in purgatory, a Catholic concept.
- Isabella, a novice nun in "Measure for Measure," is a model of virtue, a break with Protestant dramatists who depicted Catholic religious as sinners, said Beauregard. (It's telling, he adds, that Shakespeare made Isabella a novice; an earlier play on which "Measure for Measure" was partly based portrayed Isabella as a secular woman.)
- In "All's Well That Ends Well," Helena cures the sick king, attributing her success to "inspired merit" - not something a Protestant would say.
- Prospero commends prayer for the dead when he bids the audience farewell in the epilogue of "The Tempest," - "And my ending is despair/Unless I be reliev'd by prayer."
Read more in "Scholar sees a Catholic in the Bard" by Rich Barrow at the Boston Globe.
Hat tip to my colleague Klemens Raab.