Posts By: Kathryn Swanton

Happier without men? Shakespeare and Cervantes’ heroines, religious life, married life, and country life

Shakespeare’s heroines often end up with husbands who don’t seem good enough for them, while Cervantes might instead suggest it would be better to leave excellent women single—whether in the convent or outside the bounds of society. Does one option seem more satisfying, or are both hard to swallow? Cervantes specified that he should be… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare and Cervantes: Dying well after living well

In The Art of Dying Well, the Italian Jesuit Robert Bellarmine, a contemporary of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, declares, “True, therefore, is the sentence, ‘He who lives well, dies well;’ and, ‘He who lives ill, dies ill.’” This year marks the 400th anniversary of the deaths of Cervantes and Shakespeare—what might these two… Continue Reading »


Cervantes, the Moors of Spain, and the Moor of Venice

Of all Shakespeare’s plays, Othello is the one that is most frequently compared to Spanish literature in the age of Cervantes. This is due in large part to the role that jealousy plays in driving Othello to kill Desdemona. We might recall Iago’s famous warning: “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; / It is the… Continue Reading »


Prospero and Persiles: Comparing the late romances of Shakespeare and Cervantes

In preparing for the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s and Miguel de Cervantes’ deaths, it is worth considering the writing they produced toward the end of their careers, particularly since these works bear striking similarities in setting, plot, and theme. For Shakespeare, this group of plays, categorized as romances, includes Pericles (1606-1608), Cymbeline (1608-1610), The… Continue Reading »