William Shakespeare was happy to write about blood, bile, melancholy, and phlegm at length. During his time, balances of these four humors were thought to affect physical and mental health, along with defining individual personalities. These humors bred the emotions of anger, grief, hope, and fear, all of which can be found in Shakespeare's works in varying intensities. This digital exhibit from the U.S. National Library of Medicine explores the portrayal of the humors in Shakespeare's work by looking at plays such as Hamlet and the Merchant of Venice. Using materials from the Folger Shakespeare Library, the site examines the temperaments of several classic Shakespeare characters like Katherine Minola of "The Taming of the Shrew" and the melancholy Ophelia of "Hamlet." The site also includes educational materials, such as the "Changing Explanations in Mind-Body Medicine" module created by Professor Ted Brown of the University of Rochester and lesson plans for middle or high school classes.


  • Arts > General
  • Arts > Drama/Dramatics
  • Arts > History
  • Health > General
  • Health > Mental/Emotional Health
  • Language Arts > General
  • Language Arts > Literature

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    oai:nsdl.org:2200/20120928105457462T,Arts,Health -- Body systems and senses,NSDL_SetSpec_internetscout,Language Arts,Health,Health -- Mental/emotional health,Life Science,Arts -- Drama/dramatics,History/Policy/Law,Arts -- History,Language Arts -- Literature,Social Sciences,NSDL



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