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Word Count: 1,246
By researching the life and writings of William Shakespeare it can be shown that many Christian values and beliefs are displayed through his literary works In order to understand the religious content in Shakespeares work it is helpful to first understand what the religious environment in England was like around Shakespeares time England ever since it was ruled by the Romans had been a Catholic nation Before Shakespeares lifetime a drastic change occurred that completely upended the existing Catholicism of the English people During King Henry VIIIs reign the English people were for the most part content with Catholicism Through a series of very complex political maneuvers Henry eventually seized power of the English church The benefits of this control were enormous for the state First of all Henry obtained his divorce from his first wife Second the state received the tithes and taxes from church property thus making the break very profitable for the state Finally with the closing of all of the monasteries England gained large tracts of land to sell to land owners and tax heavily The break with the Church of Rome on the other hand was not welcomed by the people Through various laws and ordinances the monarchy effectively closed down the Catholic church in England but this did not stop the people from being loyal to Catholicism in their hearts One of the effects of the break from Rome was the welcoming of an English translation of the Bible One of the first English translations of the Bible was written by William Tyndale Known as Cranmers Bible or the Great Bible this Bible along with the Geneva Bible would have been the two translations used widely during Shakespeares lifetime Milward 85 With the invention of the printing press before this time the Bible was becoming a household item Access to Scripture was at it highest point in history to that time The accessibility of the Bible greatly
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