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The Unrepentant RenaissanceFrom Petrarch to Shakespeare to Milton$
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Richard Strier

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226777511

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226777535.001.0001

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Against Morality: From Richard III to Antony and Cleopatra

Against Morality: From Richard III to Antony and Cleopatra

Chapter:
Chapter 3 (p.98) Against Morality: From Richard III to Antony and Cleopatra
Source:
The Unrepentant Renaissance
Author(s):

Richard Strier

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226777535.003.0004

The difference between “morality” and “ethics” lies in scope. The latter identifies a much larger domain than the former, which encompasses a very limited and peculiar realm. Drawing his inspiration more from Homer than from Nietzsche, Bernard Williams spent a great deal of his career distinguishing these two terms. Though Williams did not draw his inspiration from Nietzsche, he admired him a great deal to the extent that his “Nietzschean” perspective may have actually been available to Shakespeare himself. Thus, the argument made in this chapter is that Shakespeare had a sense of the irrelevance of the moral to much of what we value—a sentiment shared by Williams. To prove this point, Shakespeare’s works are examined, particularly The Tragedy of King Richard III and Antony and Cleopatra.

Keywords:   morality, ethics, Nietzsche, Bernard Williams, King Richard III, Antony and Cleopatra

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