It is well known that men of different times and nations have associated with particular numbers the idea of a peculiar significance and value. It is also well known that, of all numbers, there is no one which has excercised in this way a wider influence, no one which has commanded in a higher degree the esteem and reverence of mankind, than the number . The mystic preëminence of this sacred number is as ancient as it is venerable. It belongs to the simple wisdom of a primitive age. It had its native home in the East, near the springs of light and of day. True, we find it also in later times, and upon occidental ground, pervading the mind and literature of modern Europe. But we must remember that an Oriental book, an Asiatic book, the Sacred Scripture of the Hebrew, has leavened--may we not add that it has -- the mind and literature of modern Europe. But before this influence began, before a new religion coming into Europe from the East brought with it the Oriental feeling for the Seven, the case was widely different. Among the ancient Greeks and Romans, but little prominence upon the whole is given to this number. Let us look at the first great monuments of western literature, the poems of . Here we find a number of sevens. Seven talents are more than once bestowed as a present. Seven tripods, seven women, and seven towns are among the gifts by which Agamemnon seeks to propitiate the enraged Achilles. Then there are seven ships of Philoctetes, seven brothers of Andromache, seven sons of Polyctor, seven gates of the Bœotian Thebes, seven layers of ox-hide in the impenetrable shield of Ajax, seven herds of cattle belonging to the sun-god Helios, seven roods of ground covered by the fallen war-god Ares. Seven years the murderer Ægisthus reigns upon the throne of Agamemnon; seven years Ulysses is kept a prisoner by the fondness of the nymph Calypso; seven years in his romancing story to Eumæus he professes to have spent in Egypt. In four instances in the Odyssey, some action is described as continuing for six days and terminating on the seventh in some critical event--a curious circumstance, in which we might almost be tempted to trace either a dawning of a vanishing of the . This is the list of Homeric sevens, nearly complete: it may appear somewhat long; but there are quite as many tens in Homer, and of twelves almost twice as many. In the Greek mythology--and it is the mythology of a nation that most faithfully reflects its early thinking and feeling--the Seven is quite rare, and is nearly confined to the worship of Apollo; the Twelve again is greatly more important as a mythological number. From Greek philosophy, however, the Seven has received a more respectful attention. The Pythagoreans, who in general laid much stress upon the mystic properties of number, had a special regard for the Seven. Thus Philolaus, the contemporary of Socrates, and the first to set forth, in writing, an extended exposition of Pythagorean doctrine, says concerning God, the author and governor of all things, that "he is without variation, ever like himself and like no other, even as the number seven." But it will be recollected that , according to the general tradition, had travelled in the East, and was supposed to have drawn from thence, to a greater or less extent, the elements of his system. All have heard of the , or Wise Men of Greece; men who, about six centuries before Christ, were highly distinguished among their contemporaries for wisdom and experience; of whom the most celebrated were the Milesian Thales and the Athenian Solon. It may have been a philosopher who first conceived the idea of selecting out just seven such men to form the group. It is at any rate a philosopher--Plato, himself a traveller in the East--who first gives us the seven names, selected out and grouped together. But the Seven in this case does not seem to have taken very strong hold of the Greek mind, or to have possessed inviolable sanctity; for Dicæarchus substitutes ten sages for the seven, and Hermippus enumerates seventeen. Again, the idea of , which we find among the Greeks, appears to have originated in the East, with the Egyptian Greeks of Alexandria. One of the seven wonders belongs to Alexandria itself, the light-house in its bay. A second is also Egyptian, the pyramids. Of the remaining five, only one is European, the statue of Zeus at Olympia; while four are Asiatic--the Ephesian temple of Diana, the Mausoleum of Artemisia, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the hanging gardens of Babylon. The conquests of the Macedonians, and after them the Romans in the East, the wide dispersion of the Jews, and following that, the still wider diffusion of Christianity, all had the effect of acquainting the European mind more and more with Oriental ideas. And hence it comes that, in the centuries after Christ, we find a large number even of heathen writers who render homage to the sacredness and dignity of the Seven. We will not dwell upon them here; but will rather turn to lands where a veneration for the Seven appears unborrowed and original. We will look first to the far East, to the banks of the Indus and the Ganges, to the votaries of the Brahman religion.
Kotzebue is the German Beaumont and Fletcher, without their poetic powers, and without their vis comica. But, like them, he always deduces his situations and passions from marvellous accidents, and the trick of bring-ing one part of our moral nature to counteract another; as our pity for misfortune and admiration of generosity and courage to combat our condemnation of guilt, as in adultery, robbery, and other heinous crimes;and, like them too, he excels in his mode of telling a story clearly and interestingly, in a series of dramatic dialogues. Only the trick of making tragedy-heroes and heroines out of shopkeepers and barmaids was too low for the age, and too unpoetic for the genius, of Beaumont and Fletcher, inferior in every respect as they are to their great predecessor and contemporary. How inferior would they have appeared, had not Shakspeare existed for them to imitate;which in every play, more or less, they do, and in their tragedies most glaringly:and yet(O shame! shame!)they miss no opportunity of sneering at the divine man, and sub-detracting from his merits!
Free Essay: Clearly, King Lear's idea to divide the land is the wrong decision as it is the gods who decide through divine right who is next to be king or
4 Nov 2012 This is a essay about Justice in King Lear, we are supposed to this lack of justice on the gods and questions if there is any divine justice at all
King Lear inspires many philosophical questions; chief among them is the existence of divine justice. This concept Critical Essays Divine Justice. Bookmark
The writer presents what they"got" from plays like Macbeth, Othello, & King Lear on their own,and then to what subtle points other authors helped them open their eyes.
The unquenchable vitality appears in "our Human Conger Eel" (despite the "down, wantons, down" of the eel-pie-maker in King Lear); the erector of great structures is seen in "Howth Castle and Environs".
William Shakespeare has single handedly captured and embraced this necessary feeling and has allowed us to view in on it through the characters in his two masterpieces, Othello and King Lear.
John Philip Kemble was well-known in his day for his portrayal of themajor Shakespearean tragic heroes — Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear — but hismajor contribution to the theater was undoubtedly his recognition that setdesign is an integral part of the theatrical experience.
Three different kinds of loves explored in both Othello and King Lear, sharing both similarities and differences are a love for a significant other, the love a father holds to his children, and the love a daughter holds for her father....
By depicting a breakdown in the social hierarchy and a fruitless relationship between man and the gods, William Shakespeare, in his play King Lear, establishes the absence of divine justice in human life, suggesting a minimal, even nonexistent involvement of the gods in human affairs....
The story of a bad king who becomes a good man is truly one of the deepest analyses of humanity in literary history; and it can be best seen through the evolution of Lear himself.
The most evil character may deceive one into thinking she is less evil than she is, but upon closer inspection it is quite clear that the most evil character is Goneril.
When King Lear, mourning the death of his beloved daughter, Cordelia, asks "Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life?" when Cordelia is dead, he gives voice the question we all ask when a loved one dies: Why?
In the play, Shakespeare refuses to console us with his answer because there simply for why Cordelia is dead while creatures with less to offer the world get to live. In other words, Cordelia's death, like so many others, simply isn't fair and there's absolutely nothing that can be done about it. Lear will "never, never, never, never" see his daughter alive again.