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The Elizabethan Age underwent a continuing crisis of religion that was marked by a deepening polarization of thought between the supporters of the recently established Protestant Church and the larger number of adherents to the Roman Catholic faith Of these latter Edmund Campion may be taken as the archetype Well known as an Englishman who fled to the Continent for consciences sake he returned to England as a Jesuit priest was executed by the English government in 1581 and was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 1970 It has been observed that the author of the Shakespeare plays displays a considerable sympathy and familiarity with the practices and beliefs of the Roman Catholic Churchi The intent here is to show a link between this English Catholic leader and the writer of the drama Twelfth Night as revealed by allusions to Edmund Campion in Act IV scene ii of that play A Brief Outline of Campions Life Though Edmund Campion 1540-1581 was a scholar at Oxford University under the patronage of Queen Elizabeth Is court favorite Robert Dudley Earl of Leicester Campions studies of theology church history and the church fathers led him away from the positions taken by the Church of England From Campions point of view to satisfy the new orthodoxy of the Church of England a reconstructionist interpretation of church history was being set forth one chat he found difficult to reconcile with what he actually found in the writings of those fathers 2 Had the veil been swept away Were St Augustine and St John Chrysostom really Anglicans rather than Roman Catholics Or were the church authorities trimming their sails to the exigencies of temporal policy Questions such as these dogged Campion and eventually his position at Oxford became untenable since he could not make the appropriate gestures of adherence to the established church 3 Instead Campion retreated from Oxford to Dublin in 1569 where he drew less attention
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