Cultura 2 (2):40-49 (2005)

The nineteenth-century poet, critic and philosopher, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, once characterized the mind of William Shakespeare as "oceanic". Oceans, of course, teem with myriad forms of life: is philosophy one such form in the oceanic vastness of Shakespeare 's creative genius? If so, how do we identify philosophic elements in his plays and assess the place they occupy? What sense does it make to speak of "philosophical criticism" of individual plays? How does Shakespeare incorporate epistemologies of his own time and how dramatically appropriate are they? To what extent is Shakespeare of use to contemporary philosophers and how does he anticipate them; and, vice-versa, can such philosophies refine our understanding of certain issues to which literary critics may fail to do justice? That is, can philosophy take us beyond the purely literary examination of plot structure, character, poetic imagery, speech rhythms, dialogues, settings, etc. to grant us new insight into the problematical issues the plays raise? In the time at my disposal, I am going to attempt some answers to at least some of these questions, by dwelling briefly on The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  Language and Literature  Semiotics  Social Science
Categories No categories specified
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ISBN(s) 1584-1057
DOI 10.5840/cultura2005223
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