Ignored for centuries, the presence of Muslims are prominent in the oeuvre of one of Britain’s most quintessential figures.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), England’s most famous playwright and symbol of Britishness, was closely connected to the Islamic world through his extensive body of beloved work.
“Without Islam, there would be no Shakespeare,” Mathew Dimmock, Professor of Early Modern Studies (English) at the University of Sussex, matter-of-factly states.
“Without Tudor and Jacobean England’s rich and complex engagement with Islamic cultures, the plays written by William Shakespeare would be very different, if they existed at all,” Dimmock told TRT World.
Due to Queen Elizabeth I’s political and trade alliances with the Muslim world, in particular the Ottoman Empire and the Moroccan Kingdom, the influence of Muslim culture on England was immense and this penetrated into literature and theatre.