A-Z of Shakespeare – I


Today’s Shakespearean word of the day is… illness

I- illness

Warning! Don’t read in the modern meaning of ‘sickness.’

In Shakespeare, illness means wickedness.

Lady Macbeth thinks Macbeth wants to be great ‘but without/ The illness should attend it’– without the wickedness that often lies behind ambition (Macbeth, 1.5.19).

Listen to the pronunciation of illness here


Shakespeare Dictionary _130This definition is taken from the Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary, a unique dictionary to unlock the mysteries of Shakespeare’s world, words and language, compiled by renowned English language expert David Crystal and Shakespearean actor and producer Ben Crystal.