For all that Shakespeare distanced himself from the bombast and tomfoolery of the mystery plays [of the Middle Ages], he inherited a great deal from them, too. His dramaturgy springs from the same conviction, often too deep to be expressed in words, that what happens now is related to what has happened and what will happen, that time curls back upon itself, revisits itself, includes the eternal in the passing hour. He too believed in “the fullness of time.” That was no belief in some contrived happy ending for the universe, as if God could make everything better by pasting a smile upon the end of time. It was rather the belief that the kingdom of God is at hand, among us and within us, the same kingdom that will be revealed in its fullness at the end of time. Judgment and grace and redemption are all in act now, as they were in the beginning when Adam sinned.
Anthony Esolen, Ironies of Faith, p. 115