Raise your hand if you have taught Romeo and Juliet or Julius Caesar. How would Shakespeare and his audiences have felt about suicide?. The main texts:. Macbeth – Lady Macbeth’s madness and suicide I Henry IV – Hotspur’s pre-battle “Die all, Die merrily” speech (4.1)
Excerpt from the OED:
For earlier synonyms see SELF-DESTRUCTION, -HOMICIDE, -KILLING, -MURDER, -SLAUGHTER.
a. The or an act of taking one's own life, self-murder. Phr. to commit suicide.
1651CHARLETONEphes. & Cimm. Matrons (1668) 73 To vindicate ones self from..inevitable Calamity, by Sui-cide is not..a Crime. 1656BLOUNTGlossogr., Suicide, the slaying or murdering of himself; self-murder. 1732Lond. Mag. I. 251 Love and Jealousy, the old unfashionable causes of Suicide. 1765-8ERSKINEInst. Law Scot. IV. iv. §46 Suicide, which is a species of murder, ought to be governed by the common rules of murder. 1781COWPERTruth 20 Charge not..Your wilful suicide on God's decree. 1817SELWYNLaw Nisi Prius (ed. 4) II. 970 A proviso..declaring the policy to be void in case the insured should..commit suicide. 1891FARRARDarkn. & Dawnlxvi, The terrible disillusionment and suicides of Gallio and of Seneca.
(ex. Polanski version)
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Will this research help make discussions of suicides in Shakespeare rich and meaningful to students?