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The Great Shakespeare On Animal And Plant Rights

by Wm Shakespeare Monday, Apr. 21, 2014 at 12:40 PM

The great bard had unusual sensitivity to the suffering of animals, birds, fishes

The Great Shakespear...
tumblr_inline_ml7qnrond01qz4rgp.png, image/png, 500x492

Shakespeare On Calves, Deer, Pigs, Horses, Rabbits Beetles, Flies, Bees, Animal Research, Hunting, Plant Consciousness Etc


Henry VI Part II, act 3, scene 1, lines 202-220

Thou never didst them wrong, nor no man wrong;

and as the butcher takes away the calf,

and binds the wretch, and beats it when it strays,

bearing it to the bloody slaughter-house,

even so, remorseless, have they borne him hence;

and as the dam runs lowing up and down,

looking the way her harmless young one went,

and can do nought but wail her darling's loss.

Hamlet: It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf.


As you like it act 2, scene 1, lines 24-71

Duke s:. come, shall we go and kill us venison?

and yet it irks me, the poor dappled fools,

being native burghers of this desert city,

should in their own confines with forked heads

have their round haunches gor'd.

first lord. indeed, my lord,

the melancholy jaques grieves at that;

and, in that kind, swears you do more usurp

than doth your brother that hath banish'd you.

to-day my lord of amiens and myself

did steal behind him as he lay along

under an oak whose antique root peeps out

upon the brook that brawls along this wood;

to the which place a poor sequester'd stag,

that from the hunters' aim had ta'en a hurt,

did come to languish; and, indeed, my lord,

the wretched animal heav'd forth such groans

that their discharge did stretch his leathern coat

almost to bursting, and the big round tears

cours'd one another down his innocent nose

in piteous chase; and thus the hairy fool,

much marked of the melancholy jaques,

stood on the extremest verge of the swift brook,

augmenting it with tears.

duke s. but what said jaques?

did he not moralize this spectacle?

first lord. o, yes, into a thousand similes.

first, for his weeping into the needless stream;

'poor deer,' quoth he, 'thou mak'st a testament

as worldlings do, giving thy sum of more

to that which had too much: then, being there alone,

left and abandon'd of his velvet friends;

'tis right,' quoth he; 'thus misery doth part

the flux of company:' anon, a careless herd,

full of the pasture, jumps along by him

and never stays to greet him; 'ay,' quoth jaques,

'sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens;

'tis just the fashion; wherefore do you look

upon that poor and broken bankrupt there?'

thus most invectively he pierceth through

the body of the country, city, court, '

yea, and of this our life; swearing that we

are mere usurpers, tyrants, and what's worse,

to fright the animals and to kill them up

in their assign'd and native dwelling-place.

duke s. and did you leave him in this contemplation?

sec. lord. we did, my lord, weeping and commenting

upon the sobbing deer.


Twelfth Night; Or What You Will act 1, scene 3, line 46

i am a great eater of beef, and i believe that does harm to my wit.

Antony And Cleopatra: It is reported thou didst eat strange flesh, Which some

did die to look on


Henry V

Our grave like Turkish meat shall have a tongueless mouth.


Venus And Adonis:

What is thy body but a swallowing grave?



Thou didst eat strange flesh, which some did die to look on

Much Ado About Nothing:

A man loves meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his old age.

King Lear: the charcter Kent says: "(he is)... A knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats'


Romeo And Juliet: act 2 scene 2

i would have thee gone:

and yet no further than a wanton's bird;

who lets it hop a little from her hand,

like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,

and with a silk thread plucks it back again,

so loving-jealous of his liberty.


Lady Macbeth:

Even the fragile wren, the smallest of birds, will fight against the owl when it

threatens her young .


Cymbeline act 1, scene 5, lines 7-32

I will try the forces

of these thy compounds on such creatures as

we count not worth the hanging,—but none human,—

to try the vigour of them and apply

allayments to their act, and by them gather

their several virtues and effects.

cor. your highness

shall from this practice but make hard your heart;

besides, the seeing these effects will be

both noisome and infectious.


King Lear: Horses are tied by the heads; dogs and bears by the neck; monkeys by the loins, and man by the legs. When a man's over-lusty at legs, then he wears wooden nether stocks


How like a jade he stood, tied to the tree,

servilely master'd with a leathern rein!


Swine to gore,

whose tushes (tusks) never sheathed he whetteth still,

like to a mortal butcher bent to kill.



Venus And Adonis: The hunted hare...

And when thou hast on foot the purblind hare,

mark the poor wretch, to overshoot his troubles

how he outruns the wind and with what care

he cranks and crosses with a thousand doubles:

the many musets through the which he goes

are like a labyrinth to amaze his foes.

Sometime he runs among a flock of sheep,

to make the cunning hounds mistake their smell,

and sometime where earth-delving conies keep,

to stop the loud pursuers in their yell,

and sometime sorteth with a herd of deer:

danger deviseth shifts; wit waits on fear:

For there his smell with others being mingled,

the hot scent-snuffing hounds are driven to doubt,

ceasing their clamorous cry till they have singled

with much ado the cold fault cleanly out;

then do they spend their mouths: echo replies,

as if another chase were in the skies.

By this, poor wat, far off upon a hill,

stands on his hinder legs with listening ear,

to harken if his foes pursue him still:

anon their loud alarums he doth hear;

and now his grief may be compared well

to one sore sick that hears the passing-bell.

Then shalt thou see the dew-bedabbled wretch

turn, and return, indenting with the way;

each envious brier his weary legs doth scratch,

each shadow makes him stop, each murmur stay:

for misery is trodden on by many,

and being low never relieved by any.

Lie quietly, and hear a little more;

nay, do not struggle, for thou shalt not rise:

to make thee hate the hunting of the boar,

unlike myself thou hear'st me moralize,

applying this to that, and so to so;

for love can comment upon every woe.

Puzzled wondering why

so many heads are hollow,

so many mean are walking beasts,

so much brutality blots the land,

such epidemics of violence,

such vertigos of sensuality

inoculate and intoxicate the race.


Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scene 4 Oh flesh, how art thou fishified!

King Lear Act 1 Scene One I do profess... to eat no fish (the character Kent)


Measure For Measure , act 3, scene 11, lines 85-87 .

isab.…and the poor beetle, that we tread upon,

in corporal sufferance finds a pang as great

as when a giant dies.


Titus Andronicus: act 3, scene 2, lines 55-80

mar. at that that i have kill'd, my lord; a fly.

tit. out on thee, murderer! thou kill'st my heart;

mine eyes are cloy'd with view of tyranny:

a deed of death, done on the innocent,

becomes not titus' brother. get thee gone;

i see, thou art not for my company.

mar. alas! my lord, i have but kill'd a fly.

tit. but how if that fly had a father and a mother?

how would he hang his slender gilded wings

and buzz lamenting doings in the air!

poor harmless fly,

that, with his pretty buzzing melody,


Henry V Act 1

Obedience: for so work the honey-bees, creatures that by a rule in nature teach

the act of order to a peopled kingdom. they have a king and officers of sorts;

where some, like magistrates, correct at home, others, like merchants, venture

trade abroad, others, like soldiers, armed in their stings, make boot upon the

summer's velvet buds, which pillage they with merry march bring home to the

tent-royal of their emperor; who, busied in his majesty, surveys the singing

masons building roofs of gold, the civil citizens kneading up the honey, the

poor mechanic porters crowding in their heavy burdens at his narrow gate, the

sad-eyed justice, with his surly hum, delivering o'er to executors pale the lazy

yawning drone


Shakespeare in Henry IV spoke of 'civil butchery'


As You Like It: Duke

Senior states: “tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,

/ sermons in stone, and good in everything” (2.1.16–17).

variations of these quotes can be seen at

and other forums.


Compiler -S N Shriver-

Some of Shakespeare's plays are available free in audio form according to the



Some of Shakespeare's plays are available free in audio form according to the


King Lear free and online


1539 8919

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