Traveling Exhibit, Events Based on Shakespeare and the Four Humors

Duquesne University's Gumberg Library is hosting a free, traveling poster exhibit and variety of events based on renowned playwright William Shakespeare and the four humors.

"And there's the humor of it:" Shakespeare and the Four Humors, which is open to the public, will be on display in the Popular Reading Room on the fourth floor of Gumberg Library through Saturday, March 24. The traveling exhibit was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health and the Folger Shakespeare Library.

The now outdated theory of the four bodily humors-blood, bile, melancholy and phlegm-permeate Shakespeare's plays. During his time, the four humors were understood to define a person's physical and mental health and determined one's personality.

The exhibit explores the role of the four humors in several of Shakespeare's most beloved plays through beautiful imagery and rare books from both the National Library of Medicine and the Folger Shakespeare Library, and examines more modern interpretations of the four humors in contemporary medicine.

The following events are being held in conjunction with the exhibit:

  • In Performance: Shakespeare and the Four Humors Wednesday, Feb. 21
  • Panel Discussion on Shakespeare and the Humors Wednesday, March 14.  

Details on the exhibit and the events are available at

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

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