Shakespeare and Astrology

Shakespeare and Astrology

Two of my more favored topics, besides fishing? Shakespeare and Astrology, and part of what got me launched like this. The passage used to introduce this week’s horoscope is a familiar refrain from Harry, later Price Hal, and even further along, Henry V. However, this is the Shakespeare version, not the historically accurate one.

The short quip from Hal clearly delineates the Elizabethan understanding that the sign of Cancer — the Crab, the Moon Child — is ruled by the Moon. Shows a working knowledge of signs and planet associations. When I looked it up again, further in the passage, Hal discusses a crime committed on a Monday, under the auspices of it being the Moon’s Day.

Ah for the joys of misspent youth!

As long as Sir John Falstaff is included, Hal continues to conflate Greek Myth with astrological associations, being ruled, as they were, by the Seven Stars.

The Seven Stars, in some editions, there is the suggestion it is the Pleiades — the Seven Sisters — but I tend to assume the allusion is to the “Seven Stars” of the natural zodiac, what was visible and observed with the naked eye.

Shakespeare and Astrology

The Sun, Mercury, Venus, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

While certainly not the first time, just a nice — easily accessible — bit that shows how Shakespeare used a working knowledge of astrology in his canon.

In his era, the character Prince Hal, astrology and astronomy were the same science.


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