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Shakespeare Connected - Shakespeare Among Readers

9. A Book of Christian Prayers - 1581

Besides The Book of Common Prayer, other devotional literature was often printed in Tudor England. This is a page of a collection of Christian prayers published by Richard Day. The woodcut shows a female figure, representing the Christian faith, holding a book and stepping on a male figure, representing ‘Mohamet’. The antagonism between the two religions is represented as a confrontation between the ‘knowledge of Jesus Christ’ acquired through the reading of the Bible and the words of ‘perdition’ in the ‘Alcoran ’. Religious antagonism and anxiety are issues Shakespeare explores in The Merchant of Venice and in Othello.


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