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The Bible in Shakespeare$
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Hannibal Hamlin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199677610

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677610.001.0001

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Creative Anachronism: Biblical Allusion in the Roman Histories

Creative Anachronism: Biblical Allusion in the Roman Histories

(p.179) 5 Creative Anachronism: Biblical Allusion in the Roman Histories
The Bible in Shakespeare

Hannibal Hamlin

Oxford University Press

Despite their setting in a non-Judeo-Christian classical period and place, Shakespeare's Roman plays are thick with biblical allusions. This chapter examines how such anachronistic references work in Julius Caesar (imagery of Crucifixion and contradictory models of sacrifice), Coriolanus (representations of power and divinity), and Antony and Cleopatra (the Book of Revelation, end of times, and possibilities for transcendence), often in contrastive or antithetical ways. An audience accustomed to Christian interpretations of Ovid's Metamorphoses and Virgil's fourth Eclogue would have found biblical allusions in Roman plays unsurprising.

Keywords:   shakespeare, roman plays, history, anachronism, sacrifice, julius caesar, coriolanus, antony and cleopatra

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