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The fatal choice that ends the combat between Bolingbroke and Mowbray was made on grounds that few moderns recognize. Richard II ends the duel between the lords to avoid bloodshed between kin and to preserve the natural ties of blood. After Descartes’ popular notion that ethical choices ought to be based in reason to the detriment of of irrational or unchosen ties like blood relationship. Cut off from these irrational ties, we are alienated from literature, history, and all human experience. Shakespeare’s characters act on pre-modern ethics, and surrendering our imaginations to Shakespeare’s moral universe re-connects us to a world of duties and meaning.5 Minute Free Preview