Superstition

 

During the middle ages it was a widespread superstition that storms and tempests were the work of evil spirits, and that they could be dispersed by the ringing of consecrated bells--a reason why church bells are often found cast with scriptural texts on them.
Francis Bacon apparently believed in this superstition, for in his Sylva Sylvarum (1622) he writes :

"It is thought that the sound of bells will dispel lightnings and thunder."

Is it a coincidence that "Shakespeare" held the same opinion for in "The Tempest," published in 1623, the following year, we find that Prospero wishes to allay the storm that had wrecked the King's ship, and does so in part by the ringing of bells?

***
return to the directory