Can language on it’s own define the meaning of human existence? Murray argues that language itself cannot know what it means to exist, yet Shakespeare uses his language to directly define what the meaning of life is and how to be successful in this lifetime. However, is it possible that both of these poets are correct in regards to their own viewpoints? Murray was born into the postmodernist period and felt he wasn’t able to use language to define the meaning of existence, but Shakespeare, having lived in a simple period of time, was able to use language to define the meaning of the simple life he experienced. Was Murray right or wrong in believing language couldn’t teach the meaning of existence even if Shakespeare’s sonnet XII is proof that language can teach the meaning of existence?
Shakespeare’s Sonnet XII perceives the perils of mortality, and questions what else is there to do in this life, other than to keep your family name alive. In the late 16th and early 17th century London was known as one of the dirtiest cities in the world due to the lack of sewage disposal, prominent sexual endeavours among the citizens, and the mass amount of vermin roaming the sewers (Secara, 50). So it makes clear sense that this idea of survival was quite important to Shakespeare, as he was living in London during those very grotesque times, his words are survival tactics.“Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake/And die as fast as they see others grow”(11-12). While most people would like to believe he/she will be young forever, that sadly isn’t the truth. One of the most natural experiences in life is aging, so one must do what one can while one can, because the next five ...
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...Through Murray’s expedition through language, he found that the meaning of existence can’t possibly lie in language. So, even if not directly, Murray did find the meaning of existence through language by realizing that he was looking in the wrong place.
Now it becomes evident that both men lived in two completely different paradigms, for Murray is still alive today, I could send him an email. Shakespeare is immortalized by his works, and serves as a monument to all of literature, but he has been dead for four hundred years. Can language be used to define the meaning of existence? For Shakespeare absolutely yes, but his language is much more simple and outdated just like the world he perceived when he was alive. But to ask the same question to Murray would be unfair, instead one can assume he was wrong for believing that language cannot know the meaning of existence.
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