The earlier seventeenth century is famous for such writers as William Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Miguel de Cervantes, Francis Bacon etc. Literature is always depends on political situation in the world and, surely, art trends. Seventeenth century – is the bloom of reformation and struggle against Catholicity and this fact has its reflection in the literature and art of that period also. The beginning of the seventeen century was a complicated period in the world history. It was the reformation in its full swing, old dogmata which seemed immutable, were overthrown without any respect.
The process of reformation divided not only European countries, it divided layers of society in each country, and, sometimes, it divided people in the same family. The reformation was not only a clergy process, it reflected also a natural people’s striving for spiritual and mind renewal. Early Seventeenth Century Literature The most remarkable trends in points of view of the prominent writers in the beginning of the seventeenth century are critical opinions as to the human environment.
For example, Lope de Vega, in his dramas “Fuente Ovehuna”, “The star of Sevilla” showed a broad panorama of the Spanish society in the seventeenth century. The authors tried to outline in their works the most problem points of their contemporary society. The beginning of the seventeenth century is the reformation time, so a lot of writers firstly after a long time had an opportunity to have a point of view in their writings and to write about real events in their countries. That’s why the literature of that period is full of critical opinions as to the human environment, heroic dramas and reformation sense.
Saying about trends in the use of symbolism in the literature of the beginning of the seventeen century, it is possible to mention Robert Hall, who was was really interested in the question of using symbolism in the literature. Appearance of any symbol is not accidental. “To what extent can it be maintained that the two processes are compatible, and that the individual writer can be assumed to be reflecting such non-individual phenomena as cultural patterns and problems? ” (Hall, 1963, p. 161). In the middle of sixteen-beginning of seventeen century the objects of latent fears and diseased imagination became to appear in the literature.
For example, “Don Kihot” (1605) – the main symbol of Servantes cognominal writing, who has spent his life for nothing but reading novels about knights’ gests and struggling for windmills. The literature of seventeen century could show this because of some liberty from the Church mind. Trends in a central theme of the most writings were depended on the fact that the literature of the first half of the seventeenth century belonged mostly to humanism. Therefore, the main theme of the most works was the man, as the individual, who opposed to the inertness and the sluggishness of the masses.
It is not occasionally, that almost simultaneously two great works of humanistic literature arose , – “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare (1601) and the first volume of the “Don Kihot” (1605). Both heroes, Don Kihot and Hamlet have much in common. They both look at the world around differently compared to their environment, they both are regarded crazy by other people. The theme of loneliness of the man in the world was begun for future development exactly at that period of time. Also, some changes and characters had writer’s style of that epoch. The global reformation impacted to the writer’s style in the beginning of the seventeen century.
Global liberty and heroic climate which was born in numerous military conflicts had its reflection in the literature in heroic dramas and other similar writings. The bright example of reformation literature could be such writing as “Henry IV” by William Shakespeare. Also, the beginning of the seventeen century – is the time of staggering popularity of theater. That time theater was more popular then books and people preferred to see rather to read. Surely, this fact had a really great impact on the literature and writer’s style of that period as the most of writers began to write plays instead of habitual novels.
To my point of view, the work that best exemplifies the beginning of the 17th Century is “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare. This tragedy reflects the main idea of the epoch – idea of disunity and incomprehension between people from one side, and the idea of the nobility and the grandeur of the man, of the human. “He was a man, take him for all in all” (Shakespeare, 1603, Act 1, Scene 2) – the main hero of the tragedy says. These words show new vision, new parameters of the ideal man for that time. The Hamlet’s speech shows the ideal of the man, that was inherent to the epoch of Humanism, Reformation and New Age.
The late king was a harmonic thought incarnation in Hamlet’s eyes. Therefore Shakespeare demonstrates the main demand for the Hero of the Time – to think, to contemplate. Surely, it is difficult to find out what exactly has the most impact each to other – literature on the environment or vice versa. But literature is always like a mirror that shows the climate in society and country. The literature of the beginning of the seventeenth century was a base for humanism trends in the world literature.
It was courageous for that time and free from past pressure of violent morality and Catholicity. Later, those humanism ideas has proceed and expanded and found their reflection in such events like English revolution in 1640 and French revolution in 1789. References Hall, Robert A. , Jr. (1963). Cultural Symbolism in Literature (169 pgs). Ithaca, N. Y. , Linguistica. Goncalves, H. (1985). Character, Ideology and Symbolism in the Plays of Wedekind, Sternheim Kaiser, Toller and Brecht (145 pgs). London the modern humanities research association.
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Topic: Early Seventeenth Century Literature
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