Pico and Shakespeare Revolutionists of the Renaissance
The Renaissance, a time of great discovery and strong passion for thought and logic contained two distinct writers. Pico de Mirandola and William Shakespeare wrote two major works of literature. The Oration on the Dignity of Man, written by Pico explains the Renaissance ideas of human achievement and freewill to accomplish tasks without the help of the church. A very famous playwright, William Shakespeare also talked about these same Renaissance ideals in many of his plays. One famous play that uses dramatic language to explain religious, philosophical, and even feminist ideas is Hamlet.
“Hamlet”, a tragedy, is about a Prince who chooses to seek revenge on his uncle King Claudius. King Claudius is suspected of killing Hamlet’s father the former King; and since his death has stolen his throne and married his wife. After being told this, Prince Hamlet goes mad and his mother and Claudius worry about him. Hamlet then tells a woman to join a convent because of her sexual appetite (Shakespeare Act I Scene I). Prince Hamlet also exhibits some sexist qualities when he says, “Frailty, thy name is woman”(Shakespeare Act I Scene II ). He says this because he believes that his mother is unfaithful and cannot be intimate with a single man during her lifetime. This is why she betrayed her late husband the King. Hamlet concludes that not only is his mother frail but in fact all women in his opinion are frail and fall to desire and temptations.
In Pico’s work, he writes about how people should be able to think for themselves. Pico does agree with some of the church’s ideals of how human beings have a great capacity for intellectual achievement. He also believes that humans have the right to choose the path of animals or the path of angels. However, he believed that since humans had such a high intellectual capacity, then they could make their own decisions and elevate to the status of heavenly being. Therefore, he...
Cited: "Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola, Conte." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, (2011):
Kuntz, Marion Leathers. "Pico Della Mirandola: New Essays." Renaissance Quarterly 61.3 (2008): 916-918. Academic Search Premier. Web. 4 Dec. 2012.
N.p.: Regnery Publishing Inc., 1996. Print.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. N.p.: Sterling Signature, 2012. Print
Pico de Mirandola, Giovanni. Oration on the Dignity of Man. Trans. Robert Gapongiri.
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