Identifying Degrees, about Shakespeare's The History of Troilus and Cressida.

Essay by magsabotCollege, UndergraduateA+, May 2005

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Throughout the passage from Shakespeare'sThe History of Troilus and Cressida, it becomes obvious that Ulysses comes from medieval point of view based on his description of the world in degrees. This is a poem that illustrates the systematic way in which people used to view the world, by placing the elements of the universe in a hierarchy of harmony, positioning elements of greater importance closer to God.

A particular section of the poem reminds the reader of the need of authority for all the elements to keep things running smoothly and harmoniously. Even the planets have to be watched over by something that is greater on the "chain of being." That job is for the "glorious planet Sol...whose med'cinable eye corrects the influence of evil the commandment of a king." When I looked up the word Sol, I came across a few different definitions, one being sun, another being god, another being sun-god.

Therefore planet Sol must be closer to the purity of God than the rest of the planets, giving it more importance on the "chain of being." It rules its authority over those elements that are ranked lower on the chain, keeping order in the universe.

Without the authority of planet Sol over the evil planets, the poem goes on to say that such terrible things such as plagues, portents and mutiny among other things will surely occur. If the planets do not keep in order, then everything below the planets on the "chain of being" will also be affected. It is like a domino effect, when one thing falls, the rest of the elements that depended on it also fall. And after planets on the "chain of being" are humans. To disrupt the basic order of things would be to disrupt such things as...