And There's the Humor of It: Shakespeare and the Four Humors

June 9, 2014 - 7:30am to July 19, 2014 - 5:00pm

Presented By:

National Library of Medicine

Health Sciences Library

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.

This traveling exhibit from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) explores the role played by the four humors in several of Shakespeare’s plays through images and rare books from the NLM and the Folger Shakespeare Library, and examines more modern interpretations of the four humors in contemporary medicine. For more information, visit NLM's website or

Tuesday, June 17th at 3:00 p.m. will feature the UW Library Singers and afternoon tea for those visiting the exhibit.

This exhibit is located at the Health Sciences Library:

T-334 Health Sciences Building
1959 NE Pacific St.
Seattle, WA 98105

Hours: M-F 7:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.; Sat 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.; Sun 12:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.