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Impact Of Renaissance Humanism In Shakespears Hamlet

713 words - 3 pages

Renaissance humanism refers to the ethics of the cultural, social, and educational reforms undertaken by scholars, artists, and political leaders in Europe during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Renaissance humanism was developed in response to the progressively outdated and limited ideals of medieval scholasticism that had penetrated Europe throughout the previous several centuries. Instead of simply equipping professional such as doctors, lawyers, and theologians with the strict rules of practice for their professions, humanists sought to inspire within the educated a strong sense of virtue and prudence through the close study of the humanities and particularly the arts of rhetoric, history, poetry, and philosophy. Humanism originated in Florence and Naples, Italy in the fourteenth century but began to spread throughout Europe in the early 16th century due to the large-scale printing and publication of classical and modern poetic, historic, rhetorical and philosophical texts.
While William Shakespeare probably did not have the sort of extensive humanistic education afforded those of higher social and financial rank than his own family, his education was clearly grounded in the principles of Renaissance humanism. The decidedly humanistic ideals Shakespeare often represents in his plays—particularly within Hamlet—are grounded in the principles of Renaissance humanism. Throughout his plays, Shakespeare frequently demonstrates and celebrates the ideas and ideals of Renaissance humanism, often—even in his tragic plays-presenting characters who embody the principles and ideals of Renaissance humanism, or people of tremendous self-knowledge and with that are capable of self-expression and the practice of individual freedom. Shakespeare himself can be understood as the ultimate product of Renaissance humanism; he was an artist with a deep understanding of humanity and an uncanny ability for self-expression who openly practiced and celebrated the ideals of intellectual freedom.
Humans were said to be the crowning jewel of all creation. Hamlet, through his meditations on death and philosophical analysis of the human condition, doubts these perfections in humans and their ability to make...

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