Death by Shakespeare

Death by Shakespeare: Snakebites, Stabbings, and Broken Hearts is a new (2020) fast-read analysis of, as the title hints, ways that Shakespeare in his plays caused, described, showed, understood, and used dying in various forms. Author Kathryn Harkup, a PhD chemist, is crude and gory, sporadically a bit repetitive, and nonetheless a good writer. Speculation runs rife, with guesswork well-qualified as appropriate on what could have been the cause of demise in hundreds of cases: poison, disease, injury, execution, etc. Often gruesome, sometimes a bit close to Wikipedia-paraphrasing, rarely boring.

And, to give the Immortal Bard the last word(s):

... To die, to sleep, –
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, – 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; –
To sleep, perchance to dream: – ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause ...

(Hamlet, III,i; cf Pregnant Sails (2001-06-26), Crispin Crispian (2001-10-25), Will in the World (2005-04-20), Shakespeare versus The Philosophers (2008-05-08), Bryson on Shakespeare (2010-06-21), Words Shakespeare Invented (2013-01-31), ...) - ^z - 2020-09-05