William KerriganISBN: 0801877431; 9780801877438;
Book Description "It is impossible to imagine any kind of moral life without obligations, and impossible to imagine obligations without types of promises. We are always up against them. Before we ever reflect on what a promise is, we have made them andare expected to make more of them. We are born into nations that enter into treaties and agreements. Promises are with us like gravity. Man is a promising animal." -- from Shakespeare's Promises Oaths, vows, contracts, and promises are among the most momentous actions human beings can perform, in art as well as life. Although virtually ignored by literary theorists, these obligations motivate plots, test characters, provide rhetorical occasions, structure ironies, and open thematic horizons. According to William Kerrigan, they had particular importance for Shakespeare, who wrote at a decisive moment in the history of promising, toward the end of its High Christian phase and near the beginning of its metaphysically...