Literature: A Reflection Of Society Essay

2225 words - 9 pages

In 1445, Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press and changed the world forever. Before this miraculous invention, the only way people could copy literary texts was by hand, which was a very tedious and expensive process. With the help of Gutenberg’s genius, reading materials spread across Europe with more speed than ever because the inexpensive cost of bookmaking led to a rise in sales from the people during that time period. The first book printed was the Bible in Latin, which has since gone on to be the most translated and purchased book in the world. After that was printed, however, the masses demanded more types of literature in their own languages. Ancient works on things such as science, government, and philosophy were rediscovered and led to immense changes in thought on how society was functioning during that time, especially within religion. This period of literary, scientific, and artistic brilliance was labeled the Renaissance, which translates into “rebirth” in French. Without the printing press and spread of many forms of literature, would the amazing accomplishments of the Renaissance have even happened? This is something one should consider when he or she thinks that literature has no impact on society whatsoever.
Literature is not the sole instigator of vast amounts of social change, but there is solid proof that it has influenced society for centuries, both directly and indirectly. Entertainment is certainly one of its main goals, but many authors do not purely write for the amusement of others. Whether it is in the form of a fictional or nonfictional novel, play, short story, speech, essay or poem, literature is chock full of ideas and opinions of its creator, and these ideas usually reflect something about a past, present, or even future society and its cultures and traditions. Each author has his or her own writing style and explore thoughts in various ways, which has different effects on different people. Although not all literature promotes social change, many pieces of literature have had a profound impact on their respective societies, including Antigone by Sophocles, “Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau, and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.
Greek theatre was an extremely important part of life in ancient Athens and held much influence over the people because it was a part of the new political system of democracy. The mythical tragic heroes from the plays written in 5th century B.C. served as an example of how to act in society and what values were most important. All of the actions of these plays took place in city-states other than Athens because the horrible occurrences that took place in the stories were supposed to teach lessons to the Athenian people. According to Mishra Debilal, “As far as the theatre is concerned, communication is capable of influencing life and vibrating its subtle facets through the effective management of the inner movements of the pacified emotions” (Theatre and Communication)....

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