To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, this book offers fresh and exciting insights into the ever-popular works of the world's greatest playwright. It specifically highlights Shakespeare's use of the archetypal language of astrological symbolism in both obvious and subtle ways. Such references would have been commonly known in Shakespeare's time, but their deeper significance is lost to modern-day playgoers and readers.
The first half of the book describes the Elizabethan worldview and how the seven known planets were considered an integral part of the cosmos and instrumental in shaping human character. The second half of the book examines six of Shakespeare's best-loved plays in the light of astrological symbolism, showing how they are entirely keyed to a specific zodiacal sign and its associated (or ruling) planet. The chosen plays are A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, The Tempest, and King Lear. Each chapter incorporates information and examples from astrological tradition, classical and Renaissance philosophy, Greek and Roman mythology, esoteric wisdom, modern psychology (especially that of C. G. Jung), and great literature.
Thoroughly researched and well-illustrated, this book illuminates the plays from a fresh perspective that will deepen and profoundly transform how we understand them.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I joyfully anticipated the arrival of this book and I was not disappointed! As a professional astrologer with an English degree, this book marries two of my favorite subjects. I have both seen and read the author, Priscilla Costello, since 1996, so I was sure the quality of her work would be excellent. And so it is. I am well into the Introduction at this point, but the ToC is mouthwatering. She focuses first on more general topics, astrological and otherwise, that are relevant to the text (the temperaments such as choleric, sanguine, etc, for instance) before zeroing in on several individual plays, demonstrating how each one draws from a specific astrological archetype. I can hardly wait to get to The Tempest, my personal favorite of his plays and one I use in my own lectures. Frequent, lengthy end notes (at the rear of the book) and the broad range of topics show the depth of her research and quality of her academic work. This book is clearly the result of decades of effort. All...
Shakespeare and the Stars is a comprehensive and insightful study of the Shakespearean canon through the paradigm of astrology. The author demonstrates that the Elizabethan and Renaissance worldview was grounded in the ancient cosmology of planetary influence sometime manifesting as human temperaments and physiological humors related to the planets and sometimes operating as planet-based archetypes and allegories. The author’s in-depth analysis of six plays, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, The Tempest and King Lear, reveals the astrological influences in each play encoded in plot, character, and dialogue, providing a fresh perspective for understanding and interpretation. Costello’s extensive research, referencing astrology, psychology, alchemy, and even quantum physics offers a view which enriches our understanding of Shakespeare’s literary cosmology. Shakespeare and the Stars is an original and...
A ground breaking and detailed treatment of the subject which is often ignored but crucial to Elizabethans during Shakespeare's time. It will give you a whole new look into the plays of the Bard. csl
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