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Shakespeare was a great observer, who was able to see deeply into the patterns of human character. Dare anyone say that these insights are irrelevant to living in the real world? For many in an older generation the Bible and the Collected Shakespeare were the two indispensable books. Leithart's perceptive walk through these plays is written especially for a high school level course, but older students will benefit as well. The six plays discussed are: Henry V, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, and Much Ado About Nothing. Leithart's commentary is really a guide for exploring the beauty and depth of each of the six plays and is far more than the superficial treatment typical of most study guides. It gets into philosophy, history, culture, and other significant factors.
Shakespeare was, as Caesar says of Cassius, "a great observer," able to see and depict patterns of events and character. He understood how politics is shaped by the clash of men with various colorings of self-interest and idealism, how violence breeds violence, how fragile human beings create masks and disguises for protection, how schemers do the same for advancement, how love can grow out of hate and hate out of love. Dare anyone say that these insights are irrelevant to living in the real world? For many in an older generation, the Bible and the Collected Shakespeare were the two indispensable books, and thus their sense of life and history was shaped by the best and best-told stories. And they were the wiser for it. Literature abstracts from the complex events of life (just as we do every day) and can reveal patterns that are like the patterns of events in the real world. Studying Literature can give us sensitivity to those patterns and lead towards true wisdom.
Buy Brightest Heaven of Invention: A Christian Guide To Six Shakespeare Plays by Peter J. Leithart from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781885767233 & 1885767234
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