This store requires javascript to be enabled for some features to work correctly.

Free delivery on UK orders over £50

Death By Shakespeare

Sale price

Regular price £10.99
( / )
Shipping calculated at checkout.

We aim to deliver shop products within:

UK – 1-5 business days

Europe – 1-2 weeks

Rest of world – 1-3 weeks

Please note: Print to order products are dispatched separately to the rest of your order. This means that if you order these items alongside other shop products, they won’t all arrive together, and you’ll get several deliveries.

William Shakespeare found dozens of different ways to kill off his characters, and audiences today still enjoy the same reactions – shock, sadness, fear – that they did more than 400 years ago when these plays were first performed. But how realistic are these deaths, and did Shakespeare have the knowledge to back them up?

Kathryn Harkup investigates what actual events may have inspired Shakespeare, what the accepted scientific knowledge of the time was, and how Elizabethan audiences would have responded to these death scenes. Death by Shakespeare will tell you all this and more in a rollercoaster of Elizabethan carnage, poison, swordplay and bloodshed, with an occasional death by bear-mauling for good measure.

Previously featured in the Shakespeare's Globe Book Box

Every purchase you make supports the work of Shakespeare's Globe. Thank you!


Author: Kathryn Harkup

Format: Paperback

Size: 140 mm x 340 mm

Pages: 368

Staff Review

Everybody dies, (*spoiler alert*) but in Shakespeare’s day it was a normal part of life.

We now seem to shy away from the subject of death, but in the early 17th century it was a very public affair.

Regular swathes of the Plague and other nasty diseases regularly swept through the land, killing both rich and the poor alike. With Elizabethan medicine being a gamble at best, and public executions being the best way to spend a morning, people didn’t shy away from their own mortality and delighted in the spectacle of others snuffing it.

Shakespeare wasn’t afraid to give the people what they wanted and delve into the violent, deadly on stage, his creative ways of making characters clock it (and his surprising knowledge of medicine at the time) surely contributed to his lasting popularity over the past 400 years.

This fun and informative book comes with a healthy heft of facts. Death By Shakespeare explores his most notable ways to bump people off and investigates the science behind how his characters shuffled off their mortal coils.

Can you really kill someone by pouring poison into their ear?

What happens if you’re bitten by an Asp? (Don’t try it)

How easy was it to rip Cinna the Poet apart?

Can you literally die of grief?

Full of dry wit and fun facts, this is an excellent read for those who want to know what death was like in Shakespeare’s time and how he translated it onto the stage.

This book is deliciously dark and makes merry of the morbid, do your inner emo a favour and give this book a bash, you won’t regret it.

Reviewed by Kim, Visitor Operations Supervisor