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Kantian Philosophy: On Shakespeare's View of Human Nature and Political Reality - Essay Example

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Kantian Philosophy: On Shakespeare's View of Human Nature and Political Reality

Reviewing the two sources has made me think that “The Tragedy of King Richard II” of Shakespeare serves a perfect illustration of Kantian philosophy as stated in the Sixth Thesis of “Idea for a Universal History of the Cosmopolitan Point of View.” This essay has first showed Kant’s philosophy and is followed by instances on the play, Richard II, to support and explain my opinion. Both Kant and Shakespeare have the same views on selfish nature of human beings. According to Kant, human s are reasonable beings but have selfish impulses. In Shakespeare’s story, he had portrayed the character of Richard II as a king who was indeed selfish, greedy, prejudiced and unjust. With reference to the Literature Network, the king was one unjust leader in England who had used his power for his own advantage. In various ways, his selfish nature had materialized when he spent England’s assets and funds, when he seized all the assets of his uncle, John of Gaunt, and expended the money to fund a war, taxing the masses and others. This is one point of argument that supports my opinion that Shakespeare’s view on human nature is in line with Kant’s....
duel between the son of Gaunt Duke of Hereford Henry Bolingbroke, his own cousin, and Duke of Norfolk Thomas Mowbray had not started yet, Richard II, an unjust leader who had taken advantage of his power, interrupted the introduction ceremony to sentence both dukes of exile from England. As stated earlier, the abusive use of his freedom is through his actions of seizing England and Gaunt’s assets, funding a war, taxing the citizens, etc. Aside from that, Richard II also had destroyed John of Gaunt. This is my second argument supporting that both Shakespeare and Kant see human as abusive in nature. Lastly, Kant and Shakespeare perceive the reality of politics that people lack a just leader to rule a civil society. Since for him he considered that it’s the human nature to be abusive, Kant (17) greatly considered that human beings are in need of a master who has the power to control and put limit on an individual’s abusive ways and that master must also have his own master for the same intention. However, the task of the highest master includes a search for a just master within himself (Kant 17). Based on Shakespeare’s play, since the selfish and abusive King Richard II was the people’s master itself, the end result was an unjust society for he was a leader who within himself was driven by his greediness. Using Kantian philosophy on the play Richard II, for the reason that King Richard II had no one more superior than him, no one compelled him to obey a ‘universally valid will’ (Kant 17). His will was just valid for himself alone in particular. No one was controlling his wills but just himself. As the highest master, he must exercise fairness and justice in his authority, especially there should be just man in himself. Richard II had failed to accomplish the ...Show more


From the analysis of ideas, Shakespeare and Kant believe that humans have selfish and abusive natures. That is why a master is needed for each of the people to impose a will on others and cut their abuse to their freedom…
Author : ehermiston
Kantian Philosophy: On Shakespeares View of Human Nature and Political Reality
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