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English Literature   >   Shakespeare and the Environment

Shakespeare and the Climate

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Shakespeare and the Environment

In this course, Dr Todd Borlik (University of Huddersfield) explores how Shakespeare's plays deal with climate and the environment. In the first module, we consider the climate in Early Modern England and how Shakespeare's awareness of the Little Ice Age is evident in Titania's speeches in Midsummer Night's Dream. In the second, we consider the role of thunder in King Lear, and more broadly, our relationship to the environment. In the third, we think about the role of the 'weird' weather in Macbeth, and the Macbeth's role in it. Finally, we consider how climate, race and character are connected in Othello and The Winter's Tale.

Shakespeare and the Climate

In this module, we contextualise Shakespeare's work with regard to the Little Ice Age, and its relevance to the climate change we are facing now, focusing especially on: (i) the Globe's 2019 adaptation of Titania's speech in A Midsummer Night's Dream, (ii) how Shakespeare lived through the Little Ice Age, and what that would have looked like for him, (iii) Dipesh Chakrabarty's theory of the collapse of the distinction between human and natural history, and Lewis and Maslin's pointing to 1610 as the start of the 'anthropocene', (iv) how Sonnet 18 reflects the poor weather due to the Little Ice Age, and (v) how Titania's speech in Act 2, Scene 1 grapples with the changing climate.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Borlik, T. (2023, August 11). Shakespeare and the Environment - Shakespeare and the Climate [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Borlik, T. "Shakespeare and the Environment – Shakespeare and the Climate." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 11 Aug 2023,

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Dr Todd Borlik

Dr Todd Borlik

Huddersfield University