Learn from major works by Shakespeare

Learn from major works by Shakespeare

PARIS - Agence France-Presse

Doctors should read up on Shakespeare, according to an unusual medical study that says the Bard was exceptionally skilled at spotting psychosomatic symptoms.

Kenneth Heaton, a doctor at the University of Bristol in western England, trawled through all 42 of Shakespeare’s major works and 46 genre-matched works by contemporaries.

He found Shakespeare stood out for his ability to link physical symptoms and mental distress.

Vertigo, giddiness or dizziness is expressed by five male characters in the throes of emotional disturbance, in “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Henry VI Part 1,” “Cymbeline,” and “Troilus and Cressida.”

Eleven instances of breathlessness linked to extreme emotions are found in “Two Gentlemen of Verona”, “The Rape of Lucrece”, “Venus and Adonis” and “Troilus and Cressida.”

Grief or distress is conveyed through symptoms of fatigue in “Hamlet”, “The Merchant of Venice,” “As You Like It,” “Richard II” and “Henry IV Part 2.”

Disturbed hearing at a time of mental crisis crops up in “King Lear”, “Richard II” and “King John.”

Meanwhile, coldness and faintness, emblematic of deep shock, occur in “Romeo and Juliet,” “Julius Caesar,” “Richard III” and elsewhere.

“Shakespeare’s perception that numbness and enhanced sensation can have a psychological origin seems not to have been shared by his contemporaries, none of whom included such phenomena in the works examined,” Heaton observes