Ashley Benning

Ashley Benning

Shakespeare Institute
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Shakespeare, Magic, and Natural Philosophy
Supervisor: Dr Erin Sullivan
PhD Shakespeare Studies


I am interested in the Early Modern idea of supernatural environments, such as the generally accepted notion that magic existed - both dark and light - and that it could greatly affect the trajectory of a person’s life, and how that contrasted with emerging ideas in natural philosophy, and the attempt to properly situate humanity within the realm of the cosmos. I am particularly interested in how these seemingly conflicting views defined Shakespeare’s characters’ interpretations of themselves and their destiny or fate, and to what extent it determined their actions.