A Beast, No More : Curing Doubt

2549 Words Jan 6th, 2015 11 Pages
Tina Root
Period 5
Mr. Honda
AP English Literature Hamlet Paper
1/06/15
A Beast, No More: Curing Doubt
With Action in Shakespeare’s Hamlet
Who am I? What is the meaning of life? What happens after death? Since the beginning of time, humans have pondered these and other grand questions of life. Some of the most significant attempts at explaining life were undertaken by philosophers in ancient Greece during the 6th century BCE. Two key figures contributing to Greek philosophy were Socrates and Aristotle who both developed fundamental ideals: idealism and materialism. Socrates explained through idealist logic that the truth of life is relative to each individual’s ideas and reasoning, while Aristotle believed through materialism that life is based on rationality and motive. Centuries later, these ancient Greek philosophies were revived in 14th century Italy and spread to the rest of Europe until the 17th century, a period known as the Renaissance. The intellectual and artistic rebirth of past classical ideas sparked further efforts to answer life’s big questions. Among the Renaissance philosophers was Frenchman René Descartes, who composed a collection of meditations detailing his philosophy on skepticism and how one is unable to rely on his senses and be sure of the material world. It was in this skeptic mindset that William Shakespeare wrote his well-known play, Hamlet, in around the late 16th century to the early 17th century. The English poet, playwright, and actor was born…

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