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              STOICISM IN THE RENAISSANCE AND SHAKESPEARE

DR. TAPAS CHAKRABARTI,

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR,

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH,

HEM. NORTH GUJARAT UNIVERSITY, PATAN

 

DR. HETAL PATEL

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR,

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH,

HEM. NORTH GUJARAT UNIVERSITY, PATAN

 

                                                                                               

Abstract:

This paper is an attempt to reconcile Renaissance values with stoicism which was one of the most significant schools of philosophy on which Renaissance writers like Petrarch, Montaigne, Shakespeare fell upon, the other being the Epicurean school. This paper in particular looks at the impact of Cicero on the development of Shakespeare’s dramatic art keeping in mind the social and intellectual context of the Renaissance when Latin writers formed a formidable part of the school curriculum taught to the students. The paper shows how deeply ingrained classical thoughts were on the minds of the Renaissance writers.

 

When one examines the myriad of influences which shape the Renaissance, one comes across two important schools of philosophy which in the post renaissance period became less popular. These two schools are Epicureanism and Stoicism. As we know today, Renaissance itself begins with the Italian poet and translator Petrarch’s discovery of Cicero’s letters and later on Cicero’s treatises like ‘On Duties’ now in a latest translation known as ‘On Obligations’, ‘On the Nature of God’ and ‘On Living and Dying Well’ and the immensely popular ‘Tuscalanum Disputations’ which inspired the Renaissance scholars to cultivate the art of eloquence. Another book which was very popular among renaissance scholars was De Oratario by Cicero. The great Shakespeare scholar and new historic critic Stephen Greenblatt, in his 2011 Pulitzer prize winning book The Swerve has for the first time in detail showed how the atheistic and atomistic philosophy of Epicurus was a decisive factor in ushering in of the Renaissance after the medieval period.

journal of english

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2017-07-29T10:04:00+00:00
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