Philosophical Pearls of the Shakespearean Deep
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Offers many fresh insights that will give even longtime readers of Shakespeare a new appreciation of the great master.
Scholars have long debated the extent of Shakespeare's education. Although his friend and admirer Ben Jonson said of him, "thou hadst small Latine and lesse Greek," Shakespeare's plays reveal a wide familiarity with literary and philosophical works from the Renaissance, the Middle Ages, and the classical age. Philosopher Farhang Zabeeh delves into this fascinating topic in this detailed study of the philosophical influences evident in Shakespeare's plays and sonnets.
Readers will be surprised and delighted to discover in Shakespeare unmistakable echoes of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Dante, Montaigne, and other famous thinkers. In one chapter, the author makes a convincing case that one of the bard's most famous comic characters, John Falstaff, is a parody of Socrates. In other chapters, he demonstrates indirect references to Plato in Shakespearean passages concerning appearance versus reality, as well as the influence of Aristotle's ethics. Other common philosophical themes evident in the plays concern the nature of time, subjectivity versus objectivity, and political and moral values.
of Reason. Reason is the use of inductive and deductive argument; it is the Promethean fire that is given to humankind to be used for the prediction of events and the reconsideration of the past. So says the philosopher Hamlet. He that made us with such a large discourse Looking before and after, Gave us not That capacity and god-like reason To fust in us unused. (HAM, IV:4) Reason is also called silent meditation “In maiden meditation fancy free” along with formal argumentation “large
antipathy of the Church fathers to philosophy almost disappeared when Plotinus and Augustine reached for Plato’s ideas and when St. Thomas Aquinas used Aristotle’s philosophy in support of Christianity but nevertheless the traditional hostility continued as we hear in Luther’s bland denunciation “Reason is a Grecian whore,” and later in the mockery of rationalism of William Blake (1757–1827): Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau; Mock on, mock on, ’tis all in vain! You throw the sand against
Justice and Mercy NOTES SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX My introduction to Shakespeare was through Macbeth, which I read in a Persian translation in 1934 when I was a sixteen-year-old student in Tehran, my native city. Excited, I found in our school library other plays by this author in English, which I read nonstop over and over again. However, at the University of California at Berkeley, where I arrived fourteen years later, studied philosophy, and eventually received a PhD, my studies and my
victims of prejudice. In Romeo and Juliet we note the similarity of Emilia’s protest against sexism and Shylock’s protest against religious bigotry. Behind these specific protests lies the ancient Stoic moral perception of such notable figures as Epictetus, Cicero, and Seneca that all humans are equal and therefore must be treated equally. “Homo is a common name for all men,” says Thomas Gargrave (1H4, II:1). Shakespeare probably read the protest against slavery by Erasmus (1466–1536)15, the
we shall give our dream of imagination for the pattern of the world.”9 In an essay he warns his fellow theater-lovers against the allure of art.10 Bacon’s cautious appraisal of dramatic art speaks of the uncanny power of drama over the minds of theater-goers, i.e., the common folk and the educated courtiers, lawyers, and university fellows. A noted cultural historian, John Hale, discusses the immense popularity of theatrical performances that were played in the court and public places during the