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Catholic-Animals
THE ARK

A Publication of
THE CATHOLIC STUDY CIRCLE
FOR ANIMAL WELFARE

 

From The Ark No. 188 Summer 2001

Was Shakespeare anti-Vivisection?

We can see from the passage below that the great Dr Samuel Johnson was!

In his 1765 edition of Shakepeare’s plays, Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) writes a note on Cymbeline Act I, scene 5, lines 18f:

Queen:

I will try the forces
Of these thy compounds on such creatures as
We count not worth the hanging, but none human.

Cornelius:

Your Highness
Shall from this practice but make hard your heart.

Johnson’s Note:

‘There is in this passage nothing that much requires a note, yet I cannot forbear to push it forward into observation.  The thought would probably have been more amplified, had our author lived to be shocked with such experiments as have been published in later times, by a race of men that have practised tortures without pity, and related them without shame, and are yet suffered to erect their heads among human beings.’

Sent in by Ark member Louis Coulson. With thanks.

Return to The Ark No. 188

For questions, comments and submissions, please contact:
Deborah Jones at The Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare djonesark@waitrose.com

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