Internet Shakespeare Editions


A dreadful warning

From Harrison's Description of England (1877).
University of Victoria Library.

Playgoers from the city of London, on their way to the Globe or the Rose, would have passed under the latest array of heads spiked on the gate of London Bridge.

Not all accepted the necessity of this stern warning to those passing. Margaret Roper courageously (if illegally) took down the head of her father, Sir Thomas More, for burial.

It was a society in which certain kinds of violence were treated more matter-of-factly than today*. Jacobean plays, in particular, tend to the sensational in their treatment of violence; Macbeth and King Lear are not unusual.


  1. Violence then and now

    Though they had yet to invent our efficient methods of mass destruction. It is interesting too that many modern films exploit the sensationalism of violence even more than Jacobean drama.