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Rethinking Shakespeare's Political PhilosophyFrom Lear to Leviathan$
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Alex Schulman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748682416

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748682416.001.0001

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The Birth of Tragicomedy (In The Defeat of Hector by Ulysses)

The Birth of Tragicomedy (In The Defeat of Hector by Ulysses)

Chapter:
(p.29) Chapter 1 The Birth of Tragicomedy (In The Defeat of Hector by Ulysses)
Source:
Rethinking Shakespeare's Political Philosophy
Author(s):

Alex Schulman

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748682416.003.0001

This chapter demonstrates Troilus and Cressida as a conversation between Shakespeare and Platonism. The character of Ulysses serves as the mouthpiece for Platonism and stands for two aspects: (1) a critical rationalism that invalidates established, pointless deities; and (2) the promotion of a universal, metaphysical ‘Good’ ordering creation. Ulysses' cunning victory over Greek and Trojan hero represents the simultaneous promise and peril of Platonic rationalism, which is superior to fatalism in terms of winning battles demanded by society's values. Socratism/sophism is the original clash from which subsequent Western political thought developed. Critical rationalism might possess the so-called ‘proto-Hobbesian rupture’ if drawn to sophistic rather than Socratic legitimation.

Keywords:   Troilus and Cressida, Platonism, critical rationalism, fatalism, Socratism, sophism, proto-Hobbesian rupture

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