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Science expert brands Shakespeare’s death scenes ‘unrealistic’ as poison killed Cleopatra too fast

He killed more than 70 of his characters on stage, including stabbings, snakebites and beheadings, but even Shakespeare was wrong sometimes.

Scientific analysis of Shakespeare’s Complete Works has revealed that Cleopatra died unrealistically soon after choosing death by a serpent.

The murder of Hamlet’s father made little sense, because pouring poison into someone’s ear, it takes very few blood vessels to get it into their system.

And Juliet couldn’t have ingested anything that would make her look dead for 42 hours, although a pufferfish venom could have had a similar effect.

dr. Kathryn Harkup, the scientist who closely researched Shakespeare’s death, told Cheltenham Science Festival, “He’s good at observation, but without necessarily understanding the science of what’s going on.”

dr.  Harkup described scientific problems with some deaths in Shakespeare plays

dr. Harkup described scientific problems with some deaths in Shakespeare plays

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Juliet fakes her own death with a potion that makes her appear to be dead for ‘forty-two hours’. A chemical called tetrodoxin, found in puffer fish, can make a person appear as if they have stopped breathing and slow their heart rate (stock image)

WHAT WAS SHAKESPEARE WRONG

  1. Julius Caesar was stabbed 33 times in his play – it was 23 in real life
  2. Cleopatra died quickly – a snakebite in the chest would cause a long, painful death
  3. poison in the ear – an inefficient way to kill Hamlet’s father as the venom would be blocked by earwax

In Shakespeare’s time, when the average life expectancy in England was 35 years, hangings were held in public for most crimes and the decapitated heads of traitors were displayed on peaks south of the River Thames. dr. rake up.

It meant that Shakespeare’s plays had to be gory and creepy to keep audiences entertained, with two men killed, baked into a pie and fed to their mother in Titus Andronicus, the poet Cinna in Julius Caesar murdered by a barking mob, and the character Antigonus is murdered behind the stage by a bear in The Winter’s Tale.

dr. Harkup, however, described scientific issues with a number of deaths in the plays, based on her book Death By Shakespeare.

These include the death of Hamlet’s father, murdered by his brother Claudius, who poured poison into his ear.

The poison’s name, “hebenon” or “hebona,” isn’t real, and it wouldn’t work well, Dr. Harkup says, because earwax and cartilage would prevent the substance from getting into the body.

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Cleopatra speaks only a few lines after clutching a snake to her chest to bite her, then another in her arm, then apparently dies relatively peacefully. That’s unrealistic, according to Dr Harkup, who said ‘this is not a soft death – this is painful’.

In the tragedy Antony and Cleopatra, Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, has lost the love of her life and is about to lose her empire.

dr. Harkup points out that a deadly Egyptian cobra would have to be as much as five feet in length, or nearly five feet in length, making it very difficult to smuggle in a basket of figs.

Cleopatra speaks only a few lines after clutching a snake to her chest to bite her, then another in her arm, then apparently dies relatively peacefully.

That’s unrealistic, according to Dr. Harkup, who said of the snake venom: “It will hurt along the way. This is not a soft death – this is painful.’

Snake venom will indeed cause death from respiratory collapse, but Dr. Harkup said, “It takes time to choke—she has to squirm a little on her Imperial bed to get through.

“In reality, she has more than a few lines.”

Cleopatra’s choice of where the first snake would bite her, on the chest, is one of the most painful parts of the body, according to a bee sting study.

The murder of Hamlet's father made little sense, according to a scientific expert, because pouring poison into a person's ear only reaches few blood vessels to get it into their system (stock image)

The murder of Hamlet’s father made little sense, according to a scientific expert, because pouring poison into a person’s ear only reaches few blood vessels to get it into their system (stock image)

In Romeo and Juliet, the female protagonist fakes her own death, with a potion that leaves her “forty-two hours” — nearly two days — seemingly dead, stopping her heartbeat and breathing.

A chemical called tetrodoxin, found in puffer fish, can make a person appear as if they have stopped breathing and slow their heart rate dramatically.

Shakespeare may have heard of it through traders from Japan, who ate fugu — the puffer fish — and risked paralysis and death if not properly prepared to remove the poisonous parts.

But, Dr. Harkup said, the piece suggests there wouldn’t be any medical problems with taking such a toxin, to which she said, “If you don’t breathe for 42 hours, I’m suggesting there could be some side effects.”

WHAT SHAKESPEARE GOOD

  1. The well-known directing ‘exit, chased by a bear’ – bears in London, chained up for amusement, would probably have attacked people if they got loose
  2. Deaths from a broken heart – this is unlikely but possible in people receiving an emotional shock
  3. Juliet takes a poison to appear dead – the venom of a puffer fish could achieve this effect, although puffer fish were not known in Shakespearean England

A bear that kills someone, as in The Winter’s Tale, in general, according to the scientist, would be quite unlikely.

But this is something Shakespeare was probably right, as bears brought to London for entertainment were chained up, made to dance or involved in bear fights, in which dogs attacked a bear in captivity.

These bears should “settle a few scores,” said Dr Harkup, who said: “The idea of ​​a bear breaking loose and attacking and eating someone was probably a very realistic and well-known event.

‘It would certainly have been talked about in Shakespeare’s time.

“So what seems very strange today was probably the least strange thing about that part.”

Finally, heartbreak deaths are also plausible, although Dr. Harkup says Shakespeare “stretches things up a bit.”

Mamillius, the child in The Winter’s Tale who apparently dies of a broken heart after learning that his father brutally imprisoned his mother, may have had a genetic condition that affected his heart, causing a sudden shock that proved fatal.

Lady Capulet, who died of a broken heart after learning of her son Romeo’s exile, may have suffered from “broken heart syndrome” caused by extreme stressful events, which can weaken the heart muscle quickly.

William Shakespeare: the playwright, poet and actor whose reputation surpasses all other writers

William Shakespeare (baptized 26 April 1564 – died 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor widely believed to have been the greatest playwright of all time.

The playwright continues to occupy a unique position in world literature as one whose reputation exceeds that of all other popular writers.

He is credited with producing 39 plays, 154 sonnets and three long poems.

His plays, the most famous of which are Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Othello, have been translated into all major languages.

They are performed thousands of times a year by actors around the world and studied by millions of students in the UK and elsewhere.

William Shakespeare (baptized 26 April 1564 - died 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor widely believed to have been the greatest playwright of all time

William Shakespeare (baptized 26 April 1564 – died 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor widely believed to have been the greatest playwright of all time

Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire.

He married Anne Hathaway at the age of 18 and had three children with her: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith.

Sometime between 1585 and 1592, Shakespeare began a career in London as an actor and writer.

He co-owned a gaming company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which later became known as the King’s Men.

They built the Globe Theater in Southwark, South London, where they staged many of Shakespeare’s plays.

The theater was destroyed by fire in 1613, but rebuilt the following year before closing in 1642 and subsequently demolished.

A modern reconstruction of the Globe, called ‘Shakespeare’s Globe’, was built less than 250 meters from the site of the original theater and opened in 1997.

At age 49, Shakespeare is said to have retired to Stratford before dying three years later.

However, there is little data on his private life and there is much speculation about his exact physical appearance.

Questions have also been raised as to whether all of the works attributed to him were actually written by others.

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