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TOPIC: Out of time & place?

Out of time & place? 7 years 1 month ago #1057

In Act II, Scene 2, Hector mentions Aristotle in the past tense, yet he did not live until 384 B.C. (a thousand or so years later).

Shakespeare's error or anacronism?
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Out of time & place? 7 years 1 month ago #1060

I guess Shakespeare just conflated most of the significant history of ancient Greece - note how in Henry V he says in the prologue that he is "jumping o'er times, turning th'accomplishments of many years into an hour glass". Henry V is not the only play in which he does that.

Also, I suspect Hector is making some important philosophical point which calls for the mention of Aristotle for emphasis. Evidence, perhaps, that Shakespeare was more interested in the ideas and the poetry of his text that in its authentic historicity?
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Out of time & place? 5 years 3 months ago #3300

I think there's no question but that it's a great honking anachronism... Shakespeare may have been fuzzy on Greek history, so the distinction between Greek classical and Bronze Age culture may have been vague to him, as well as to other educated Elizabethans. More to the point: since Chaucer was a major source for him, I think the slip betrays the degree to which he's following Chaucer in recasting the Trojan War as a contest of chivalry (though with considerable irony and jaundice toward the code of knightly virtue). That is, I think the Homeric world is actually at a pretty far remove from his thinking; his whole mindset in telling the story is medieval. And the Middle Ages did, at least notionally, hold Aristotle in high regard.
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