I w as born in In that same year, I had my cultural and mystical awakenings. During my second year of college, I had my first existential crisis and a paranormal event changed my studies from science to business. I s till held my energy dreams, however, and ineight years after that first paranormal event, I had a second one that suddenly caused me to move up the coast from Los Angeles to Seattle, where I landed in the middle of what is arguably the greatest attempt yet made to bring alternative energy to the American marketplace.
Natalie Elliot New scholarship reveals a Bard brooding over the science of his day. What can we learn from his vision of cosmic upheaval? In Act V of Hamletafter Hamlet has killed Polonius, Ophelia has died, and Hamlet has returned to Denmark from his murderous trip to England, he happens upon two gravediggers.
It is an odd and puzzling scene, and a noticeable departure from the rising action of the play.
At this juncture, we expect Hamlet to clash with his rivals. Instead, we get a deeply philosophical and darkly comic exchange on death, with the gravediggers singing as they toss around bones and Hamlet wondering about the lives of the skeletons before him: That skull had a tongue in it and could sing once Why may not that be the skull of a lawyer?
Where be his quiddities now, his quillities, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? Why does Short essay questions in microbiology suffer this mad knave now to knock him about the sconce with a dirty shovel and will not tell him of his action of battery?
He wants to know about the material nature of corpses. A half-century before Shakespeare penned Hamlet, anatomists made significant advances in their inquiry into the human body that would fundamentally alter how we understand ourselves.
InAndreas Vesalius, known as the father of modern anatomy, published De humani corporis fabrica On the Fabric of the Human Body.
Anatomical research appears also in other Shakespeare plays. Shakespeare takes up references to the morbid art, and to other new discoveries, to show that when scientific investigations yield new ideas about nature, what ensues is an altered relation to ourselves.
In fact, Shakespeare explores the philosophical, psychological, and cultural impact of many more scientific fields besides human anatomy, reflecting poetically on theories about germs, atoms, matter, falling bodies, planetary motion, heliocentrism, alchemy, the humors, algebra, Arabic numerals, Pythagorean geometry, the number zero, and the infinite.
A small but growing number of scholars are now taking up the connection between Shakespeare and science. And, spurred perhaps by science fiction, by the ways that science factors in the works of key late-modern writers such as Nabokov, Pynchon, and Wallace, and by the rise of scientific themes in contemporary literary fiction, a growing number of readers are aware that writers can and do take up science, and many are interested in what they do with it.
We also see that Shakespeare was remarkably prescient about the questions that science would raise for our lives. He explores, for example, how we are personally affected by the uncertainties that cosmological science can introduce, or what it means when scientists claim that our first-hand experience is illusory, or how we respond when science probes into matters of the heart.
To catch a glimpse at the forms and pressures that we share with Shakespeare, we will turn to some more familiar and some less familiar lines of three well-known plays — Hamlet, King Lear, and Romeo and Juliet — where he interacts with concepts and claims in early modern science. The Equivocal Cosmos of Hamlet In Hamlet, Shakespeare ponders our status as ensouled yet finite beings by reflecting not only upon earthy bodies but also upon starry skies.
Through subtle but intriguing references to one of the greatest upheavals in modern science — the Copernican Revolution — Shakespeare shows how theoretical shifts in our cosmology bear on human life, especially on matters of love. The English were also acquainted with Copernican astronomy through the work of astronomer Thomas Digges, particularly a popular book that included the first partial English translation of Copernicus.
The image depicts Brahe surrounded by the crests of sixteen members of his extended family. One is named Rosenkrans, another Guldensteren — variants of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the names of two friends of Hamlet.
Falk notes that these are among the few character names in the play that are actually Danish. Among the names of his relatives surrounding the portrait are Rosenkrans and Guldensteren, both on the left side of the image. Wikimedia Commons But the primary evidence that Shakespeare was engaging with Copernican astronomy is that Hamlet himself seems to be doing so in his letter to Ophelia.
Polonius sees this as a madness of love, but what he holds in his hands speaks to something deeper than that. Doubt thou the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move, Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love.
The reference to Copernican astronomy — doubting the motion of the sun — seems clear. But readers today may miss what Shakespeare is suggesting about the equivocations of the Copernican world. I doubt some foul play.
Contrasting the mutability of scientific ideas with the constant knowledge of the heart, this is the most obvious, and romantic, interpretation of these lines. But for Hamlet, of course, matters of the heart are in fact deeply conflicted.
The contrast of the final line might well sound like a case of protesting too much: Later, he chides her: I loved you not. But the ambiguity of the passage seems to be deliberate, indeed, to be its point.
Shakespeare connects cosmological doubt with psychic inconstancy — inconstancy of both the heart and the mind. This double, opposed characterization mirrors the opposition between the Ptolemaic and the Copernican worlds, the one emphasizing the spiritual perfection of the heavenly spheres, the other destroying the basis of that ideal, opening up the idea that the celestial world is no different in kind from our lowly material one.
In the face of these uncertainties, Hamlet is moved to seek a constant basis to guide his actions. Initially, his investigations could be considered quasi-scientific. He asks the gravedigger how long a man lies in his grave until he rots, and investigates all matters concerning death.Wondering about colleges, courses or exams?
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