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Are You Alone Wise?The Search for Certainty in the Early Modern Era$
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Susan Schreiner

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195313420

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195313420.001.0001

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“Men Should Be What They Seem”

“Men Should Be What They Seem”

Appearances and Reality

(p.323) 7 “Men Should Be What They Seem”
Are You Alone Wise?

Susan E. Schreiner

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the overarching problem of discerning the real from the unreal. How does one penetrate the falsity of appearances and find the reality of truth? This, too, was a concern that crossed all religious boundaries. Luther discussed this problem in terms of idolatry. Montaigne approached the issue in his arguments against essentialism. And Shakespeare's great tragedies powerfully dramatized the problem by lifting the veil of deceptive appearances to an underworld of evil and chaos. For Shakespeare, skepticism was not the answer. His tragic heroes do, indeed, find reality and truth, but it is a tragic reality and a fatal truth.

Keywords:   truth, Montainge, Luther, Shakespeare, reality

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