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Classic Texts Will Never Go Out of Style

In: English and Literature

Submitted By sallymate
Words 700
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Classic text will never go out of style because the concepts within have something important to teach us and are still meaningful and relevant today. The renaissance period was a time in Britain between the late fifteenth to mid–seventeenth centuries and was a major turning point for British culture. The renaissance period is famous for the works of Shakespeare and Marlowe. Their literature reflected free thinking, historical, philosophical, and religious influences of the time.

William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe used Aristotelian tragedy, in which a great man is brought undone by a fatal flaw in his own character. In these types of tragedies the characters’ misfortune is brought upon by himself, not by vice. This was a concept portrayed 500 years ago yet rings true today. People are not flawless and most misfortunes are brought on by some error in judgment. Examples of characters with this tragic flaw include Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus and Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Shakespeare’s ‘The Tragedy Of King Lear’ must be taken in context.
Before the renaissance period the only form of drama was the occasional religious mystery play. The plays of the renaissance period drew away from the religious theme. As a result there was a huge expansion in the range of subjects that the authors wrote about. Thus the tragedy of the character coming undone by flaw not by evil, was seen in the plays.

King Lear’s basic flaw is his test of his daughters superficial love over real love. He values appearances over reality. In the play, King Lear does not ask “which of you doth love us most” but rather, “which of you shall we say doth love us most”?

Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus can be compared to Shakespeare’s King Lear. Faustus represents the spirit of the renaissance, with its rejection of medieval, god-centered universe, and its embrace of human possibility. Faustus is the story of a man who sells his soul to the devil for twenty-four years of power on earth. This reflects the philosophical context of the renaissance because Faustus yearns for more than science or philosophy can ever show him; he wants knowledge and happiness on earth, not in the after life. Faustus, like King Lear, thinks only of what will make him happy in the present, not the future.

Faustus’s last line aptly expresses the play’s representation of a clash between Renaissance and medieval values. “I’ll burn my books,” Faustus cries as the devils come for him, suggesting, for the first time since scene 2, when his slide into mediocrity begins, that his pact with Lucifer is about gaining limitless knowledge, an ambition that the Renaissance spirit celebrated but that medieval Christianity denounced as an expression of sinful human pride.

Relevant to these two plays are critical perspectives. There is no single way of reading literature so by analyzing critical perspectives a better idea of the text can be understood. From the Marxist perspective, Terry Eagleton, a Marxist critic, concludes that humans will insist that certain things that are not essential are in fact needs, like King Lear. This perspective helps prove that classic texts such as King Lear will be never go out of style as they have truths such as the critizim ‘humans always want more that necessary and sometimes confuse the boarder of needs and wants’. Proof of this today is the ever growing concern of consumerism. People in the western world revolving around money and technology always wanting more. Readers can see this issue in King Lear and relate to todays society.

Looking from a humanist's perspective Faustus is a great example of body of thought when people stopped looking only to god for teachings and decided to focus on the human spirit. Humanist’s believe that if one is hoping to look to humans for education the best place to search is the writings of humans, this way the learning and wisdom might be transferred to the reader. Texts showing the downfall of the character such an s Faustus could act as cautionary tale. The humanist perspective further supports how readers can learn form the classic texts. Literature saves people form being narrow minded and materialistic it elevates understanding and moral sense.…...

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