Violence In Shakespeare's On Abstinence On Food

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mind, and I will through and through / Cleanse the foul body of th’infected world / If they will patiently receive my medicine” (Shakespeare 2. 7. 58-61). Shakespeare captures the “belief that human souls could transmigrate into animals” (Fitzpatrick, Food in Shakespeare: Early Modern Dietaries and the Plays 58), an idea that is developed by earlier philosophers, such as Porphyry, who, in On Abstinence on Animal Food, points, “it would be an indication of great injustice and inexhaustible avidity, to destroy those of our own species for the sake of divination, thus also it is unjust for the sake of this sly an irrational animal” (84). Porphyry’s take on animal violence goes beyond Manu’s approach to animal violence. He denies the justification…show more content…
Why is Shakespeare concerned about food, sex and their relation to virility? Interestingly, Mahatma Gandhi, a follower of Hinduism who observed celibacy, believed that abstaining from food and sex would give him more strength to lead the Indian independence movement. His belief in gaining moral and physical power restricting food and sex is moulded by Hindu tradition of sages who followed the strict regulations of celibacy and believed to have acquired the divine knowledge and power. Not only the Hindu scriptures that Gandhi seriously studies while in London but the Western vegetarian tradition helped shape his ideals on ahimsa. Stuart argues, “Ahimsa (non-violence) he identified at the core of both Hinduism and Christianity, became a central plank in his political philosophy, and vegetarianism was one of its most potent manifestations” (Stuart 426). For Gandhi the choice of food, “the ultimate “himsa-reduced diet” became a way to achieve the highest moral power. His deployment of ahimsa and his strategy of satyagraha and civil resistance encouraging people to reduce violence on diet reiterates the central idea of many of the Hindu
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