Shakespeare' s Progressive Significance in His Tragedy "Romeo and Juliet"

Essay by sharonlele June 2007

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I. IntroductionA. The historical background of RenaissanceThe 16th century in England was a period of breaking up of feudal relations and establishing of the foundations of capitalism. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth many writers appeared on the literary scene. There had never been an age in English history which saw so many brilliant writers working at the same time. Their efforts were part of the intellectual as well as a literary movement that “began in the 14th century in Italy and later spread to France, Spain, the Netherlands and England. It was called Renaissance and its ideal was Humanism.”(Luo 64) Renaissance is a French word which means “rebirth” in English. In the 15th and 16th centuries, scholars in western European countries had a keen interest in the Greek and Latin culture. “That is the art and science of ancient Greek and Rome were being born again after long years of neglect.”

(64) The humanist took great interest in the welfare of human beings. They went on to new and magnificent achievements in every phase of human endeavor. According to them "it was against human nature to sacrifice the happiness of this life for an after life.”(64) They argued that man should be given full freedom to enrich their intellectual and emotional life. “In religion they demanded the reformation of the church. In art and literature, humanists held their chief interest not in ecclesiastical knowledge, but in man, his environment and doings and bravely fought for the emancipation of man from the tyranny of the church and religious dogmas.” Humanism shattered the shackles of spiritual bondage of man's mind by the Catholic Church and opened his eyes to "a brave new world" in front of him.

B. Early life experience of the great dramatistRecords about Shakespeare’s life experience are very...