Heaven Stoops to Virtue

In: English and Literature

Submitted By rbaker
Words 1868
Pages 8
Heaven Stoops to Virtue

Many scholars have viewed the disputations in Milton's Comus as insertions which interrupt the flow of dramatic action and musical spectacle. However, since "each episode of Comus reenacts the central themes and illuminates the poetic process in a fashion characteristic of masques and allegorical poetry" (Swaim 187), we can ask whether or not the "central themes" are enunciated explicitly. They are stated quite clearly, I believe, in the disputations. Far from being digressions, the two disputations provide meaning to the action of the masque, and a proper understanding of their relation to the whole work will provide a greater appreciation of Comus. The second debate, between the Lady and Comus, generally receives the most attention, so I will look at it first. A.E. Dyson emphasizes the importance of this debate in understanding the rest of the masque: "The fact that in dramatic terms Comus's view, though plausible, is shown to be false, and the Lady's view, though austere, to be true, is central to the poem's meaning, and what it is 'really about' ... The interpretation of Comus centres upon what we make of the case between Comus and the Lady" (89-90). The subject of their debate is what Marjorie Nicolson calls "the Appeal to Nature for Standards" (78). Comus argues that nature's bounties urge us to revel in their pleasures, and that our refusal to do so displeases the creator who provided Nature for this very purpose, and additionally creates the risk that Nature's fertileness will cause it to outgrow and overrun the Earth, wreaking havoc and disorder. The Lady responds by telling Comus that Nature proffers her delights only to those "That live according to her sober laws" (766) and respect Nature by enjoying her fruits in moderation so that all may reap a portion of her bounty. The Lady's argument recalls Genesis…...

Similar Documents


...In the March 2002 issue of the Harvard Business Review, Roger Martin proposed his virtue matrix as a framework for analyzing corporate social responsibility. The purpose of this paper is to discuss three recent newspaper articles that showcase acts of corporate social responsibility and to provide an evaluation of the virtue matrix in regard to its usefulness for understanding corporate social responsibility in addition to how the matrix relates to government regulation. The first article for discussion is entitled “McDonald’s to phase out pork from suppliers that cage pigs over 10 years” (York, 2012). The article reports on McDonalds’ plan to gradually eliminate the use of pig gestational crates in its U.S. supply chain over the next ten years. Gestational crates are used to confine female pigs for most of their adult life as it is reasoned by some that pregnant sows become aggressive around food. The process has been condemned by animal rights activists as unnecessary and cruel (York, 2012). The article goes on to say that McDonald’s is not the only fast food restaurant that is engaging in this act, Burger King and Wendy’s also have plans to phase out the use of these crates. McDonald’s has pledged to work with farmers to move toward other methods of confinement that will serve both of their needs. Given the widespread movement to ban gestational crates by other fast food chains this act by McDonald’s falls into the bottom left quadrant of the matrix, the choice......

Words: 1207 - Pages: 5

Heavens Gate

...They had a plan to fulfill. Yet by the end of 1976, the group had diminished from around 200 adherents to only eighty. Cult expert Steven Hassan says that the people involved in cults like these are typically intelligent and educated, but that a loving charismatic leader who presents beliefs for which there can be no reality testing manipulates them. A new identity takes over that is dependent on how the leader defines it. "The mind can learn," he adds, "and it can learn things that are abusive to the self." Then in 1985, Nettles died of cancer and was not physically resurrected as promised. Such an ordinary death seemed out of keeping with the sacred doctrines of the two witnesses, and it was clear that she was not going to get into heaven with a perfected body. Applewhite had to repair the damage, so he continued to emphasize the discomfort that true believers have with mainstream American society and he said that Nettles had gone on before them to get things ready. In 1993, Applewhite began another campaign for advancing into something "more than human." Naming the group Total Overcomers Anonymous, he placed a large ad in USA Today to alert the American people to the fact that the earth would soon be "spaded under" and they would have one last chance to escape. He went so far as to say that he was the alien that had been inside the body of Jesus Christ, but two thousand years earlier, the souls had not been ready. He had returned in the form of Applewhite to take......

Words: 1663 - Pages: 7


...Virtues We’ve all heard the famous quote “patience is a virtue”. As true as this statement is, I don’t think we really grasp the meaning of what a virtue really is. I would describe a virtue as a morally good character trait that one is not born with, but must strive for. Patience is a perfect example of this. No child is born with patience. Many times a child will interrupt the mother who is in the middle of a conversation because it wants candy and simply cannot wait for the mother to finish the conversation. So what is it that makes virtues important? I believe the answer can be found in the theory of Virtue Ethics. Virtue Ethics is the theory of how people should be. In other words, we shouldn’t act with honesty, we should be honest. By being honest, honesty becomes second nature to us. It is easier for someone to be honest if they have the virtue of honesty. Being virtuous will benefit someone when they are faced with decisions, challenges, or circumstances. For example, it will benefit a college student to be perseverant because obtaining a degree is not easy. Virtue Ethics defines the context of right and wrong based on the virtues valued in a society. The right thing to do in society as we know it would be to act with virtues like honesty or integrity and the wrong thing to do would be to act with vice, the opposite of a virtue. I believe there are many things about virtue ethics that are true. What I agree with most is Aristotle’s view of how......

Words: 887 - Pages: 4


...June 2014 Understanding Virtues Virtues are important traits and morals for each person to learn. It means a behavior showing high moral standards. The essay by Kwame Anthony Appiah approaches the topic of ethical behavior with this sentence “Does the virtuous act make the agent virtuous or does the virtuous agent make the act virtuous?” He points out it is difficult to evaluate a situation and decide if it was the individual or the action that improved the circumstances. Humans are known for their flawed nature for a reason as Appiah points out “[the] Playful man. . . angry man. . . serious man. . . same fellow, different situations.” There are morals for each person, they can follow some and not the other but they are all important morals in the end. (Appiah 401) Humans will not always address situations of ethical dilemma with the same matter or approach. For example, external factors like hunger level, fatigue and stress will influence a person’s response to a certain or particular situation. Given a different day and time that same individual may react quite differently because of their feelings. Everybody can relate. I also notice many actions that I may do resulting in this matter without realizing it. It’s from our human tendencies to respond to different scenarios with a moral dilemma. Through our actions and experiences, a character is created. In the essay by Appiah, he explains the differences between situational ethics and virtue ethics. Situational......

Words: 1492 - Pages: 6

The Heaven of Animals

...The Heaven of Animals By: James Dickey The poem “The Heaven of Animals”, by James Dickey, explores the relationships between predator and prey as well as the controversial topic of whether or not animals have souls. The end of the poem also touches on the idea of a circle of life; death being the centre. The structure of the poem as well as Dickey’s use of poetic devices reflects these themes whilst also painting a vivid mental imagine of “the heaven of animals” for the reader. In the first stanza, Dickey introduces the animals with the simple phrase “The soft eyes open.” (Line 1) Throughout the poem, there is no mention of any specific animal, but in the opening line of the poem, Dickey chose to represent animals as a whole rather than individual species. This hints at the idea of everyone being created equally and everyone deserving the chance of a perfect afterlife. The reader is also expected to draw the parallel between the title and the setting of the poem, because within the poem, it is never said that they are in “heaven”. The vivid imagery allows the reader to fully understand the beauty of animal heaven. Dickey is describing this place as a more perfect version of the animal’s habitat on earth. This creates a sense of fulfilment which is carried throughout the entire poem. The next stanza is the one that raises the controversial topic of animals not having souls. Dickey presents the reader with a very clear paradox: if animals do not have souls, then which...

Words: 917 - Pages: 4


...culture and every civilization of the world. These principles are what define and distinguish us as human beings giving rise to moral and ethical precepts. Values are conferred and inculcated into us by various agents of cultural influence such as the family unit, a myriad of institutions and social structures, and mostly importantly the cultural edifice of mutually affirmed inter-subjectivity. These same values serve as a cultural and linguistic prism through which we perceive and make the world palpable, recognizable and intelligible. Although most values are limited to the cultural and social milieu which any given individual inhabits and navigates, some values are universal and unwavering across all lifestyles and customs. The values and virtues I will be discussing have foot in both domains of understanding but are mostly intrinsic to the human condition and human existence, applicable and sought by most if not all. Personal development is a broad spectrum under which many different values appear and are cultivated. Physical activity and movement, expanding the knowledge of optimal nutrition and bodily awareness, mental and psychological health and wellbeing, wisdom, pursuit of knowledge and continual learning all fall within the realm of personal development and self realization. I have always been keenly aware of how important it is to take care of the body and be vigilant of your relationship to it. One can bring up various philosophical dialectics concerning the......

Words: 1472 - Pages: 6


...is said to be the first Christian Philosopher who believed that a person can only truly be happy if he is following the will of God for his life. He believed that virtue grants the soul perfection, the soul accesses virtue if it follows God for pursing God is the happy life (Dobbs, 1888). According to Sommer and Sommer (2012), Saint Augustine believed that the chief good of a man cannot be something that is inferior to himself. He believed that if a man followed after something that is inferior to him, he then too would become inferior for every man is called to follow that which is best. For that reason, for something to be considered a chief good, it has to be something superior to him, a greater good. While there was never any real vocalization that Lincoln was following God’s command for his life, there was certainly a biblical undertone through out the film. He was completely committed to the 13th Amendment no matter what the cost because he felt is was the right thing to do. He even turned a blind eye to the coercion and bribery used to obtain the votes. While one could argue that God would disapprove of these actions, no one can deny that these tactics proved to be a means to an end that saved the lives of a countless number of slaves. I believe that there was enough virtue in Lincoln where maybe he felt in his soul as though God would not frown upon the actions of those linked to him who carefully did his “dirty work”. After all,......

Words: 1135 - Pages: 5

Heaven or Hell

...permitted to their privacy. The government should not have a say or a right to intervene in a private matter such as physician-assisted suicide. Stephen Hawking said in an interview with BBC that “I think those who have a terminal illness and are in great pain should have the right to choose to end their live and those that help them should be free from prosecution We don’t let animals suffer, so why humans”?(BBC, 2013). The Roman Catholic Church is against physician-assisted suicide. They have spent millions of dollars trying to defeat legislation on PAS in Maine and Michigan. They believe that human life is a gift from God and nobody should take the life of another person. They see it as murder, and those that sin will not get a place in heaven. The Catholic Church cannot accept that human beings have a right to die. They also say it is morally wrong to commit suicide so it is morally wrong to help someone do so. They also believe that the value of the human life is identical to everyone else and it is not measured by mobility, intelligence or anything else. The Catholics are not the only religion that does not condone physician-assisted suicide; there are a few other religions also. People that practice the Buddhist religion support PAS but only under certain conditions. Those who support PAS debate that this is not a matter of religion, but a matter of personal choice. Those that support physician-assisted suicide do not feel that a person’s life has lost value because......

Words: 2498 - Pages: 10

Virtue Ethics

...tue ethics is a broad term for theories that emphasize the role of character and virtue in moral philosophy rather than either doing one’s duty or acting in order to bring about good consequences. A virtue ethicist is likely to give you this kind of moral advice: “Act as a virtuous person would act in your situation.” Most virtue ethics theories take their inspiration from Aristotle who declared that a virtuous person is someone who has ideal character traits. These traits derive from natural internal tendencies, but need to be nurtured; however, once established, they will become stable. For example,  a virtuous person is someone who is kind across many situations over a lifetime because that is her character and not because she wants to maximize utility or gain favors or simply do her duty. Unlike deontological and consequentialist theories, theories of virtue ethics do not aim primarily to identify universal principles that can be applied in any moral situation. And virtue ethics theories deal with wider questions—“How should I live?” and “What is the good life?” and “What are proper family and social values?” Since its revival in the twentieth century, virtue ethics has been developed in three main directions: Eudaimonism, agent-based theories, and the ethics of care. Eudaimonism bases virtues in human flourishing, where flourishing is equated with performing one’s distinctive function well. In the case of humans, Aristotle argued that our distinctive function is......

Words: 889 - Pages: 4


...1.In your own words describe what a virtue is. What is the opposite of a virtue? A virtue is a ideas that a person possesses that show high moral standards, or good habits. People who have virtue try to live lives without mistakes. The opposite of a virtue would be imperfection. 2.Franklin believes human beings can arrive at moral perfection. How does he explain his belief? Does it seem reasonable. He explains that moral perfection can be achieved if you follow his simple plan daily. His plan is that he takes his 13 virtues and he uses them to make weekly chart he will then develop one virtue every week so eventually he will perfect them all. This plan dose seem reasonable to me becouse its a slow process and anyone can achive anything with time. 3.provide a sketch of the chart franklin kept with him in order to track his moral development. 4.List the 13 virtues. Rewrite the description of each in your own words and then explain which you feel is the most important, which do you feel is the least important and why? 1. Temperance- do not overindulge on items 2. Silence.- stay out of people's business to better yourself 3. Order.- its good to stay organised with your stuff and your time. 4. Resolution.- think how to fix your problems before you act on them 5. Frugality.- don't waste things 6. Industry- don't waste time on meaningless thing, spend every moment doing something useful like learning or helping other 7. Sincerity.only speak the truth unless it......

Words: 532 - Pages: 3

Confucius and Aristotle on Virtue

...Confucius and Aristotle on Virtue Lisa Wilson Dr. Malone Date 12/5/2015 Confucius and Aristotle are some of the greatest thinkers in the history of mankind. While Confucius was born in China and spearheaded a new way of perceiving morality, Aristotle was born in Macedon/Greece and also immersed his philosophical work to addressing moral thinking.Both philosophers have addressed similar subjects with major points of divergence and convergence. On virtue, these two authors have almost similar opinions. However, it is their points of convergence or agreement that have had a huge impact on the modern world’s thinking and understanding of virtue and moral behavior. By the Standard English dictionary, virtue is defined as behavior showing high moral standards. This definition is borrowed from both philosophers who tend to agree by laying emphasis on character or behavior as opposed to the actions themselves. Thus Aristotle and Confucius agree that virtue is entrenched in one’s character and thus should be visible in all kind of situations and in specific situations (Yu, 1998). The twophilosophersalso agree chiefly on some components of virtue but disagree on others. One of the chief virtues that the two agree on is piety. According to Aristotle, humans serve the gods by improving the moral state of the human state. To him, being virtuous is a form reverence to the gods. Confucius has a similar take on piety noting......

Words: 942 - Pages: 4

Virtue Theory

...OBrien Ethics Virtue Theory Virtue ethics is one theory that people use to make moral decisions. It does not rely on culture, society, or religion; it only depends on the individuals. Aristotle was the main philosopher of virtue theory which he introduced his theory in ancient Greek times. Aristotle was a great believer in virtues and the meaning of virtue to him meant being able to fulfill one's functions. Virtue ethics is not interested in the question “what should I do?” but rather in the question “what kind of person should I become?” It has more to do with the nature of what it is to be human and their character, than with the rights and wrongs of actions. Instead of concentrating on what is the right thing to do, virtue ethics asks how you can be a better person. Aristotle says that those who do lead a virtuous life are very happy and have sense of well-being. Happiness is the ultimate goal for everyone in life. Aristotle's definition of happiness is, “happiness is the activity of the soul in accord with perfect virtue”. To become a better person, we must practice virtuous acts regularly. After a while, these acts will become a habit and so the virtuous acts part of our everyday life and the person will be leading a virtuous life. For example, if a singer practices singing every day, they will become better at it and used to doing it. Practicing virtue theory is similar, but it is more of an exercise for the the mind. People who practice their virtues improve......

Words: 944 - Pages: 4


...In “Liberal Studies and Education” by Seneca, the path to virtue is through wisdom. The effects of virtue are illustrated through the characteristics of moderation, exercising self-control, and kindness. One achieves virtue when acquiring wisdom. Seneca comments, “But there is only one really liberal study, - that which gives a man his liberty. It is the study of wisdom, and that is lofty, brave, and great-souled.” Seneca is stating that plain knowledge, learning facts, and memorizing allows one to know things but does not lead to wisdom. Hence, wisdom is the way to virtue. Seneca then remarks, one knows “what a straight line is; but how does it benefit you if you do not know what is straight in this life of ours?” (Seneca 24) People tend to know the difference between right and wrong, but don’t know how to apply the difference in their own life. One can be wise and knowledgeable, but just being knowledgeable does not make you wise. The effects of virtue are significant. One effect of becoming virtuous is moderation. Seneca writes, “The mathematician teaches me how to lay out the dimensions of my estates; but I should rather be taught to lay out what is enough for a man to own.” (Seneca 24) Men are so concerned with wanting to own more but fail to realize the exuberant amount of land they have is more than they can handle. The level of pettiness for our belongings creates a whole new scale. Man needs to learn how to move away from greed and move closer to generosity. ......

Words: 703 - Pages: 3


...include the economist argument, the Ayn Rand argument for the virtue of selfishness, and the Hobbesian argument. The economist argument suggests that individual self-interest in a competitive marketplace produces a state that is best for society at large because it causes individuals to produce a better product and sell it at a lower price than competitors (Pojman 90). Thus, self-interest leads to the best overall situation. Pojman critiques the economist argument and claims that it is not an argument for ethical egoism (Pojman 92). Instead, it is an argument for utilitarianism, which makes use of self-interest to attain the good of all (Pojman 277). The goal of this theory is social utility, but it dependent on the free-enterprise system that guides self-interest to reach that goal. "The economist argument suggests that we not worry about the social good but only about our own good, and in that way we will attain the highest social good possible" (Pojman 93). Pojman objects that though self-interest often leads to greater social utility, it may get out of hand and need to be supplemented for concern for others. Therefore, a sufficient moral system may need to bring attention to the needs of others and direct people to meeting those needs even when people do not consider it to be in their immediate self-interest. The Ayn Rand argument for the virtue of selfishness argues that selfishness is a virtue and altruism is a vice, a totally destructive idea that......

Words: 2300 - Pages: 10

The Applause of Heaven

...The Applause of Heaven The Applause of Heaven easily becomes a step by step description of how to rebuild the believer’s heart. God is relentlessly in pursuit of his children and He desires to welcome them home with applause. Through the Beatitudes, Lucado hopes to convey this message to rekindle the love inside God’s children. Within the first couple of chapters, Lucado immediately introduces the bi-product of Christ’s reconstruction of the believer’s heart. He begins his series of insights by introducing the idea of the Sacred Delight. This Sacred Delight is a holy joy that comes from God and is the gift received when a person surrenders everything they have come to know and cherish. Lucado recognizes this shift and says it starts with, “a demolition of the old structure and a creation of the anew,” and explicitly interjects that, “the more radical the change, the greater the joy. And it’s worth every effort, for this is the joy of God,” (Lucado, p12). Lucado breaks down what the idea of the Sacred Delight means. He says, “Sacred Delight is good news coming through the back door of [one’s own] heart. It’s what [one had] always dreamed but never expected. It’s the too-good-to-be-true coming true,” (Lucado, p10). Lucado is an excellent narrator and uses his words to truly convey an idea in a multitude of ways. He even goes further than just simple illustrations to explain what makes this Sacred Delight so joyful. “It is sacred because only God can grant it. It......

Words: 2226 - Pages: 9

Knowing Brother Episode 40 | France 2011 Femme De L' Etre Serie Complete De 12 Timbres Oblitere | ApeCrimeTV