Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Shakespeare and the Constant Romans$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Geoffrey Miles

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198117711

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198117711.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 09 July 2020

Montaigne and the Profitable but Absurd Desire

Montaigne and the Profitable but Absurd Desire

(p.83) 5 Montaigne and the Profitable but Absurd Desire
Shakespeare and the Constant Romans

Miles Geoffrey

Oxford University Press

Michel de Montaigne began his Essays as a Neostoic, gradually distanced himself from the Stoic ideal, and ended by regarding it with a blend of admiration, repulsion, and ironic criticism. One of his running concerns is constancy and inconstancy; another is a sceptical analysis of reason, knowledge, and opinion. His relevance to the concerns of this book is obvious, that Shakespeare knew and borrowed from the Essays, in John Florio's 1603 translation. This chapter focuses not so much on Montaigne as a source of Stoic doctrines as on his more original critique of the ideal of Stoic constancy. His final view of that ideal, as ‘a profitable desire, but likewise absurd’ seems to be close to that implied in Shakespeare's Roman plays. It seems plausible, given the evidence that Shakespeare read the Essays, that it was Montaigne who focused and shaped his interest in the theme of constancy.

Keywords:   Montaigne, Essays, Shakespeare, John Florio, constancy, inconstancy

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .