A Sea of Troubles: Shakespeare’s Narratives of the Sea

Lucy Dale's picture
April 27, 2021
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
British History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies, Maritime History / Studies, Theatre & Performance History / Studies

Time and Date: 27 April 2021 | 5.15pm - 6.30pm

Location: Online

English theatre of the late 1500s and early 1600s had to be ‘relevant’, not least because there was fierce competition for audiences amongst playhouses. William Shakespeare’s work was no exception, often making references to debates about contemporary issues such as taxation, monarchy and land ownership. He was also writing at a time of major maritime expansion and exploration, which is reflected in many of his plays. These are full of the language of the sea and characters associated with it.

What does Shakespeare reveal about early-modern attitudes towards the maritime world? How did his approach to the sea grow and shift during this career? What did the sea actually represent on stage?

In this free online talk, Dr Chouhan will examine the famous playwright’s often contradictory narratives of the sea. Using Twelfth Night and The Merchant of Venice as starting points, it will explore what the sea meant to Elizabethan and early Jacobean audience members, whether this was opportunity, adventure, trouble or danger.

This event is free and open to everyone, and will take place via Zoom. There is no need to book; please follow the link below shortly before 5.15pm on the day:


This webinar is part of our Maritime History and Culture Seminar series. For other events in this series, please visit:


Contact Info: 

Lucy Dale

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