Shakespeare and the Ideal of Love
Reveals the influence of the Renaissance scholar-priest Marsilio Ficino on Shakespeare and how the Neoplatonic philosophy of love shaped the inner meaning of his work
• Shows how Shakespeare’s works offer a path back to the divine unity of all things
• Explains the role of love in the Christian-Platonic concept of the three worlds
In Love’s Labours Lost, Shakespeare talks of the true Promethean fire that is lit by the doctrine he reads in women’s eyes. What is this doctrine and what is this true Promethean fire to which it gives birth? In Shakespeare and the Ideal of Love, Jill Line shows that Shakespeare shared the perennial philosophy of a long line of teachers, including Hermes Tristmegistus, Pythagoras, Plato, Plotinus, and especially the Florentine scholar and mystic Marsilio Ficino. The answer to these questions, Line claims, lies in Ficino’s Christian-Platonic philosophy of love, from which all Shakespeare’s plays have their genesis.
Love, according to Ficino, is the force that inspired the creation of the worlds of the angelic mind, the soul, and the material, and it is through love that each of these worlds expands into the next. Love is also the vehicle that allows human beings to make the return journey to the source of their being, where they find unity in God. This is the path on which all of Shakespeare’s lovers embark. Jill Line explains how Shakespeare’s plays represent more than poetic literary constructs: They are mirrors of the progress of the soul, in many conditions and situations, as it returns to the divine unity of all things.
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angelic mind angelic world Antipholus Antony Ariel Bacon Bassanio beauty of soul become Ben Jonson Berowne body Brutus Caesar Caliban calls cave Ceres CHAPTER Cleopatra constancy constant heart Corpus Hermeticum Cupid Cymbeline dance darkness daughter death Diana disguise divine beauty divine light doth dream eyes fancy father Ficino Francis Bacon goddess of nature gods Hamlet harmony heaven and earth heavenly beauty heavenly Venus heavenly world Hecate Hermia Hermione higher worlds Hippolyta Hymenaei imagination Imogen Inigo Jones inspiration Jonson king Lady Lear Leontes lover lower Macbeth Malvolio marriage Marsilio Ficino masque material world Miranda moon murder night Oberon Orlando path of love Pericles Petruchio physical world Platonic worlds play Plotinus Portia Posthumus Promethean fire Prospero realised reason recognises represents Romeo Rosalind servant shadows Shakespeare sleep spark spirit symbol Tempest thee Theseus thou Titania triple goddess true twin union Venus and Mars virtue vision wedding wife