“And there’s the humor of it”: Shakespeare and the four humors is a traveling exhibition developed and produced by the Exhibition Program at the National Library of Medicine and the Folger Shakespeare Library. The exhibit is on display at the TMC Library from February 13 - March 23, 2013.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) created characters that are among the richest and most humanly recognizable in all of literature. Yet Shakespeare understood human personality in the terms available to his age—that of the now-discarded theory of the four bodily humors –blood, bile, melancholy, and phlegm. These four humors were understood to define peoples’ physical and mental health, and determined their personality, as well.
The traveling exhibition consists of 6 panels that examine the intersection of medical theory and literature of the four humors. These four bodily humors—blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm—were understood by Shakespeare, and generations before him, to define people’s physical and mental health, and to determine individual’s personality, as well. See this exhibition to learn more about the language of the four humors and their influence in Shakespeare’s plays.
Visit the exhibit website for more information: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/shakespeare/index.html