Article Title

"Like a Liar Gone to Burning Hell": Shakespeare and Dying Declarations


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

The relationship between the most mystical of the hearsay exceptions, the dying declaration, and Shakespeare's plays is the subject of this paper. A statement is admissible as a dying declaration in either a civil or criminal evidentiary hearing or trial only under all of the following circumstances: (1) the death of the declarant or maker of the statement has occurred; (2) the causes or circumstances of that death are at issue in a trial; (3) the dying person made a statement concerning his death observed by a witness or witnesses for the proponent of the statement; (4) the declarant would have been a competent witness if testifying; and (5) the dying person believed his death imminent. Generally, the proponent of a dying declaration is the prosecutor in a criminal homicide, and typically his or her witness (es) for relevant deathbed statements are law enforcement and health professionals such as police, sheriff's deputies, highway patrol, ambulance drivers, paramedics, nurses, and physicians. If the death is sufficiently prolonged for the dying to make a statement, it will usually be witnessed and later testified to by our official emergency care providers.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.