The Angel Chorus in Judeo-Christian Civilization

"Good night, sweet Prince," says Horatio at the climax of Shakespeare's Hamlet, "and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." It is a glorious sentence, a golden nugget of Western civilization. Horatio's farewell to Hamlet evokes a world in which Hamlet's tormented soul, after avenging his murdered father, falls dead and ascends to Heaven glorified by a chorus of angels. That is a remarkably humanizing image, one in which Hamlet gives his own life to set things right, and the very heavens celebrate the justice of his cause. Life on earth may be full of injustice, but in the Western imagination truth and right prevail in the end. You may not believe that, but for three thousand years it was an immensely humanizing way to see the world. In Western tradition it is Hamlet's inner being that matters, his soul. Until the mid-20th century the English language used words like "soul," or "dear soul," to address people in everyday conversations. You can still read it in Agatha Christie...(Read Full Article)

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