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Shakespeare's Moral Compass$
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Neema Parvini

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474432870

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474432870.001.0001

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Navigating Shakespeare’s Moral Compass

Navigating Shakespeare’s Moral Compass

Chapter:
(p.3) Chapter 1 Navigating Shakespeare’s Moral Compass
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Shakespeare's Moral Compass
Author(s):

Neema Parvini

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474432870.003.0001

At a time when some feel that Western civilization is at a moment of crisis – and in which many are taking stock and looking for meaning – this chapter introduces a book which looks, as so many previous generations have looked, to the great literature of the past for some insight, and perhaps even for some guidance. Crucially responding to the call to update the methods and assumptions of literary analysis, this chapter builds on the author’s previous books, Shakespeare’s History Plays (2012) and Shakespeare and Cognition (2015) in seeking to move beyond historicism by adapting concepts taken from latest psychological research. This chapter is divided into two parts. The first outlines history Moral Foundations Theory (“MFT”), pioneered by Jonathan Haidt. The second refines the latest thought on literary character and cognition, before expanding on how it might be usefully employed in approaching the question of morality in Shakespeare’s plays.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, Literary Theory, Literary Criticism, Character, Moral Philosophy, Morality, Ethics, Cognition, Jonathan Haidt, Moral Foundations Theory

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