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Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, 2021, 4(6); doi: 10.25236/AJHSS.2021.040607.

Order vs. Counter-order: Love in Shakespeare's Plays


Liang Guo

Corresponding Author:
Liang Guo

King's College London, Xi'an, Shaanxi, 710000, China


Love between men and women is the most moving content in Shakespeare's plays. Humanists in the Renaissance believed that love was a natural human right, the most natural, the most beautiful, the most noble and the most praiseworthy emotion in the world. Boys and girls break through the cage of medieval asceticism, burst out in true love of hot passion, mobilize the abundant energy, life's most happy activities and the most noble words and deeds into one -- this is shown incisively and vividly in Shakespeare's plays. However, the power of the Christian Church was still strong at that time, and the traditional religious concepts influenced social morality and ethics and constrained the thoughts of intellectuals. Shakespeare was no exception. According to the English literary critic Tillyard, "The Elizabethan conception of the world order is generally medieval, although many medieval details have been removed. It is the perfect work of God that the universe is a whole and everything has its place in it."  Christian theology holds that God created all things, and also created the divine order in which the universe operates, which regulates social ethics and morality. Tillyard said: "Because of this set of ideas in mind, it was Shakespeare who got Odysseus to mention that social order follows degrees and takes its place, and these are the organizations and activities that fit man's place in all existence."  Shakespeare said, "Take away the strings of Degree and listen. How many shrill noises will come out."  Shakespeare's love believers, although they can sacrifice everything for love at the risk of life and death, but cannot offend the eternal order of male and female, they are willing to obey the order, each put himself in his place, only in this way can they enter into the happy Garden of Eden. Order is an important key word to understand Shakespeare's plays. Following the clue of order and anti-order, we can find a key to open the treasure house of Shakespeare's plays. 


Shakespeare's plays, love, women's rights, the order of the universe

Cite This Paper

Liang Guo. Order vs. Counter-order: Love in Shakespeare's Plays. Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences (2021) Vol. 4, Issue 6: 35-38. https://doi.org/10.25236/AJHSS.2021.040607.


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