Macbeth's Ambition

Topics: Novel, Daniel Defoe, Jane Austen Pages: 10 (3437 words) Published: May 22, 2013
1. Why is it said that Humanism was the progressive ideology of the Renaissance in the English Literature? Who was the most outstanding author of this period? 2. Explain the meaning of the subtitle of Vanity Fair. Why is it said that Vanity Fair is a novel without a hero? 1/ The progressive ideology of the Renaissance was Humanism. Human life, the happiness of people and the belief in man's abilities became the main subjects in fine arts and literature. The works of humanists proclaimed equality of people regardless of their social origin, race and religion. Humanism did away with the dark scholastic teaching of the Middle Ages. The development of a new social order presented great possibilities for man's creative power. That is why the humanist outlook was marked with bright optimism, with belief in man’s great abilities and his high mission. It was contrary to the medieval ideology and especially to that of the Catholic Church. The power of Church over men's mind was defeated. The bearers of the progressive outlook greatly contributed to the development of every branch of the world's art, culture and science.

According to Engels, the renaissance was the greatest progressive revolution that mankind had so far experienced, a time which called for giants and produced giants-giants in power of thought, passion and character, in universality and learning. The Renaissance gave mankind such great men as Michelangelo and Leonardo de Vinci, Petrarch and Durer, Cervantes and Shakespeare.

2/ Vanity fair (a novel without a hero)

Vanity Fair is a social novel which shows not only the bourgeois aristocratic society as a whole, but the very laws which govern it. Describing the events which took place at the beginning of the 19th century, the author presents a broad satirical picture of contemporary England.

The subtitle of the book shows the author's intention not to describe separate individuals, but English bourgeois-aristocratic society as a whole.

The title of the book is borrowed from The Pilgrim's Progress, an allegorical novel written by John Bunyan, one of the greatest writers of the second half of the 17th century.

The hero of Bunyan's novel comes to a great city where there is a fair, where everything is on sale ... " ... a fair wherein should be sold all sorts of vanity, and that it should last all the year long. Therefore at this fair are all such merchandise sold as houses, lands, trades, places, honours, preferments, titles, countries, kingdoms, lusts, pleasures, and delights of all sorts, as ... wives, husbands, children, masters, servants, lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious stones, and what not.

The social background of the novel which influences all the characters in their thoughts and actions, is high society at large. Thackeray attacks the vanity, pretensions, prejudices and corruption of the aristocracy (the Crawleys, Lord Steyne); the narrow-mindedness and greed of the bourgeoisie (the Osbornes, the Sedleys). He mercilessly exposes the snobbishness, hypocrisy, money-worship and parasitism of all those who form the bulwark of society.

The interest of the novel centres on the characters rather than on the plot. The author shows various people, and their thoughts and actions, in different situations. There is no definite hero in the book. In Thackeray's opinion there can be no hero in a society where the cult of money rules the world.

3. What are Shakespeare’s great tragedies and what do they reflect? In what way does the tragedy of Hamlet differ from other tragedies of that time? 4. In about 150 words write what you know about Jane Austen and her novel Pride and Prejudice. 3.Hamlet

- The main works written by Shakespeare during the second period (1601 - 1608) are his four great tragedies: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1601), Othello, the Moor of Venice (1604), King Lear (1605), and Macbeth (1605). - The tragedies reflect...
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