We, Shakespeare and the Fall of Civilization (‘A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all!’ King Lear, V, iii)


  • Shahab Yar Khan Department of English Language & Literature, University of Serajevo


Shakespeare plays, Coronavirus, images of helplessness


This article aims at sharing images of the bubonic plague very similar in William Shakespeare’s time as we do see images of helplessness and desperation in our age due to Coronavirus. Jobless and scared of the evolving situation, Shakespeare was like any other Londoner under a lock down. Shakespeare was not a spiritualist, observing and forecasting the celestial movements and writing about it. He was only a playwright, he was shareholder in major theater of London, the Globe. In case of an image of plague or eclipse, he was going to suffer both professional and existential threats. Life was changing every movement in front of him and he wanted to register all his impressions, concerns, hopes and doubts. The marked change that we see in his works from 1599 to the end of his career has a lot to do with his perceptions of existence changing with the changing cosmos and global reality. The incubation period was one-two weeks. Symptoms included: high fever, body aches, fatigue, respiratory problem. Most plagues victims died within a week of showing symptoms. The bubonic plague could be transported on people, baggage and animal.


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