Sidney 's Virtues, Shakespeare 's Passion Essay

1310 Words Apr 21st, 2016 6 Pages
Sidney’s Virtues, Shakespeare’s Passion Throughout time, literature has tested a variety of roles within society. Much of early English literature was of a highly religious nature, and often used to teach lessons of morality and virtue, chivalric romance, and epic historical sagas. The purpose and role of poetry and other originative writing has been the topic of much controversy since its very beginning. As we have bared witness to in this class, poetry comes in many different forms, and with many different purposes. In defense of its value and worth Sir Phillip Sydney wrote his unequalled essay “In Defense of Poesy” in attempt to end the debate over the moralistic and virtuous ends of poetry. Sydney explains that poetry is an “art of imitation” and serves as a vehicle for knowledge and beauty with ends “to teach and delight” (1051). Sidney’s words may have defended mainstream renaissance poetry and limited other accessible works, but are we to assume Sidney would endorse all unknown and future works by the same merit?
Discrepancy in some of those highly generalized claims, as well as deep rooted conflict might be found when examined alongside Shakespeare’s Sonnet #20. Sidney’s general claims may have proven accurate, or at least left little room for dispute in many cases, however in others we may not find so much truth. One should never doubt that occasionally the mold will break, leaving a work falling questionably close to the disputable boundaries of his assertions.…

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