The 17th century was considered the “Age of Reason”, along with the final years of the artistic
and cultural movement, the Renaissance. Writers at this time were influenced by these social
revolutions, along with other historical events. Theories about emotion and reason sprung during this
time period, which were expressed in literature by poets and authors such as Robert Herrick, William
Shakespeare, and Thomas Hobbes. Shakespeare’s play, King Lear is a great representation on the
relationship of reason and emotion.
The design of reason and emotion was being developed during the 17th century. They related the
ideas of emotion with words such as ‘passion’ and ‘affect,’ (Schmitter, Amy M.) These terms of
emotion contrast from todays definition. Philosophy was a vital part of the seventeenth century due to
the enlightenment. The relationship between reason and emotion has been expressed in different forms
of literature such as poetry and literature. In literature, it would be expressed with themes such as
sight and insight.In poetry two common themes in 16th were the relationship between men and
women, and the treachery and hypocrisy of courtly life(unknown author). Poets such as Robbert
Herrick discussed how human life has a short time span and that it must be spent with love. William
expressed his ideas through his character King Lear, who at first is controlled by his emotions, then
later finds reason by the challenges he faces.
Robbert Herrick, a 17th century english poet, wrote the poem To Daffodils, which expresses the
concept that time is too short, and that we must enjoy it through love. In many of his poems, he had a
common subject, love, with particular lines also have to do with ceremonies—special, often
sanctified, events that figure importantly in human life and are fraught with significance as well as
emotion (Williams).According to the Poetry Foundation, he sees death “with a poise that is intellectual
as well as emotional”. To accommodate for the impending future, he lived a modest life through loving
and living. In his poem To Daffodils, he compares human life to daffodils, which shows
how short the human lifespan is, with the line “We have short time to stay, as you”. Herrick also he responds to the prospect of his inevitable death by affirming life, but life lived modestly and taken as it
comes, the bad with the good (poetry foundation).
A man who stated his thoughts rather than being interpreted through poetry and novels was
Thomas Hobbes.According to Williams, Hobbes was founding father of modern political philosophy.
He was an english philosopher who was known for his political thought(Williams). He had many ideas
about human nature and wrote about them in his book Leviathan. Hobbes makes a list of thirty six
different passions in Leviathan.
Examples of his ideas were:
Happiness is a continual progress of desires from one object to another, the...