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Shakespeare Across Subject Areas: Law

Finding Articles

Database Searches:

Search the databases below for texts of Shakespeare's poetry (primary sources) or literary criticism about it (secondary sources). Possible keyword searches include the following:

  • Shakespeare AND law
  • law AND early modern England
  • law and literature AND Shakespeare
  • search by specific plays (Merchant of Venice AND law)

Shakespeare and Lawyers

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." Dick the Butcher in Henry VI, Part II, Act IV, Scene II, Line 73

Did Shakespeare hate lawyers? That's what this (in)famous line would lead us to believe, and scholars have gone back and forth about what it really means for years.  Some think its akin to a joke about lawyers, and others believe that it is a compliment to lawyers who instill justice--considering the character who says the line is a henchman for the rebel Jack Cade. These articles explore the topic so you can come to your own conclusion.

Selected eBooks