Elizabethan madness: on London's stage

Psychol Rep. 1997 Dec;81(3 Pt 2):1331-43. doi: 10.2466/pr0.1997.81.3f.1331.


During the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603) a renaissance of both literary and political history occurred. The stage was transformed from primitive echoes of the morality plays to a vibrant and diverse exploration of human endeavor and man's place in the universe. The titanic literary figure of Shakespeare today veils a group of friends and challengers whose pens strove for the same goal. The depiction of madness was ubiquitous during plays of this time and reflection on the views of this group of men gives us a more reliable insight into mental illness then and today.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Drama / history*
  • England
  • History, 16th Century
  • Humans
  • Literature, Modern / history*
  • Medicine in Literature*
  • Mental Disorders / history*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology