Shakespeare Helps Us Comment on Virtue

“Give me that man that is not passion’s slave and I will wear him in my heart’s core.” Aristotle describes virtue as something formed by habit of doing what is right without suffering internally; for if we suffer internally, we are bound to prove self-indulgent. Ovid states, “There is nothing stronger than habit.” It is not enough to do things singularly for the improvement of our life, we must find ways of enjoying what we’re doing or that activity will prove unsustainable in our life and be abandoned soon after. In The Merchant of Venice, we hear Portia saying, “If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches and poor man’s cottages prince’s palaces.” Prosperity isn’t unattainable for anyone, if enthusiasm [love for something] ignites within that person. Shakespeare understood that humans are motivated by what and who they love. Consequently, we must stay steadfast when we do something that’s going to improve our life but takes time and faces us with challenges that can be only be faced with Diligence and Patience; we need a more comprehensive perspective and must avoid looking at life like a fool who might stare at a blade of grass in the ground and conclude after five minutes of scrupulous observation that it was certainly not going to grow. Hamlet notices that it is rare for someone to be guided by anything other than what is immediately gratifying in any given moment, or as he puts it: being passion’s slave. Living with a freedom that propels us towards only the best destinations in life makes our own reality so marvelous that happiness abides and sorrow takes his leave: for good! It then becomes effortless to spread that happiness to others. When we have achieved making both ourselves and everyone around us full of contentment, I think we have then attained [some sense of] virtue.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Shakespeare Helps Us Comment on Virtue

  1. “we need a more comprehensive perspective and must avoid looking at life like a fool who might stare at a blade of grass in the ground and conclude after five minutes of scrupulous observation that it was indubitably not going to grow.”

    Yes!
    Bravo!

  2. Pingback: Shakespeare Helps Us Comment on Virtue | The Shakespeare Standard

  3. Pingback: Shakespeare Helps Us Comment on Virtue | The Shakespeare Standard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s