Shakespeare and prudential psychology: ambition and akrasia in Macbeth.

VIRTUE WAS CENTRAL to Renaissance discourse of ethical action; theLatin term translates classical Greek arete, the fullest realization ofhuman potential. In its aspiration to virtue, the pre-Cartesian worldviewed human passions and actions as seamless interactivity between thebody and the soul through the operation of humors and spirits. Liketheir ancient forebears, early moderns viewed moral philosophy asclosely linked to psychology of the classical tradition. To them,psychology, as its etymology indicates, referred to the philosophicalstudy of the soul, located midway between natural philosophy, or"physics" in the broad sense of phenomena in the naturalworld, and divine philosophy, or meta