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The European Renaissance: A Movement to Modernization - Research Paper Example

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The European Renaissance: A Movement to Modernization There can be no doubt that the European Renaissance represented a significant change for the people within Europe and their society as a whole. However, opinions differ as to what specifically the European Renaissance brought to people living in Europe at that time or in the present day…
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The European Renaissance: A Movement to Modernization
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Download file to see previous pages However, there is also another perspective. This is that the European Renaissance was the driving force behind the modernization of Europe, bringing it from what could be considered the ‘dark ages’ into the early beginnings of modern society1. This essay argues that while the Renaissance may not have led Europe out of the dark ages, it was a revolutionary period, with longstanding impacts that continue on into the present day. In order to argue that the European Renaissance was indeed radical in nature, this essay will consider the concepts of secularism, humanism and utopia and their relevance to this point in time. The European Renaissance was a time of substantial political and social upheaval that occurred within Europe from the 14th century through to the 17th century, although dates are approximate. The movement began in Italy, and spread throughout Europe, bringing substantial change. One of the most significant changes that occurred as part of the Renaissance was the movement towards secularism. People with Europe began to move away from the concept that Christianity should guide every aspect of life; there was an increase in desire for instant gratification and interest in physical forms of fulfillment rather than spiritual ones. This shift resulted in a dramatic change in the values of Europe, changes which remain into the present day. Currently, it can be argued that Christianity is not the exclusive religion of Europe, instead, there are many different religions, and people who do not follow any religious beliefs. As such, at its heart, Europe has become a secular nation, as opposed to the Christian one prior to the Renaissance2. Humanism was one of the focuses of the European Renaissance, and one of the biggest developments that was experienced during this time. During the European Renaissance, humanism was a form of discourse frequently embedded in artistic works, such as the writings of William Shakespeare and Thomas More. Humanism was directed directly against the official viewpoints at that time, including the prevalence of stoic dogmatism and reason3. It can be argued that humanism was one of the defining characteristics of Renaissance throughout the world. At its heart, humanism was a reaction against scholastic and logical approaches, desiring to be able to have eloquence in speaking and writing4. The humanist aspect to the European Renaissance was crucial to the impact that the Renaissance had on society as a whole. It led to the prevalence of many types of artistic discourse, including that by females who had previously been strongly restricted. As such, the Renaissance saw a tremendous growth in the arts, with many people using art as a method of expressing ideas that could not have been previously broached. One of the early humanistic works of the Renaissance was Thomas More’s Utopia, which drew influences from Plato’s work, yet remained one of the most important works of the Renaissance period. Its development represented a crucial change in thought pattern, showing how people were beginning to move away from accepting their society as it was, to imagining a more perfect society5. Utopia described a fictional island that was located within the Atlantic Ocean, whose inhabitants lived in an ideal society. This work stirred the imaginations of those in the Renaissance era, and was the beginning of a whole new focus on ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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