back to top

    What did Shakespeare have to do with science?

    Was Shakespeare rooted in the medieval picture of the world and had no interest in astronomy? Analysis of the poet’s works, made, among others by Poles, denies this. The images of planets and stars present in his poetry harmonize with the cosmological discussions of the era and with the beliefs of leading London astronomers.

    London in the time of William Shakespeare (1564–1616) was a place where Copernicus’ theory was particularly vigorously discussed and where, thanks to the observations of supernovae and comets there, the necessity of referring to the celestial spheres as a piece of machinery for hovering planets and stars was undermined.

    Until now, literary scholars as well as authors of critical editions of William Shakespeare’s plays, published in the renowned Arden, Cambridge, and Oxford series, have consistently placed him in a geocentric cosmos ruled by Aristotle’s physics. And they alleged a lack of interest in astronomy.

    In an interdisciplinary work that appeared in the prestigious journal “Shakespeare”, among others, Polish researchers prove that some literary tropes, recurring in the poet’s dramas, testify to his vivid reaction to the debates about the new structure of the universe undertaken in his era.


    More in section