Hobbes Leviathan Research Proposal

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Hobbes' Leviathan

Thomas Hobbes is considered to be one of the most important thinkers in history. His book, The Leviathan has been appreciated as one of the most important contributions to the philosophy of politics.

It is important to underline the fact that at the time when the book was written, religion played an extremely important part in people's lives, having an utmost influence in all the areas, starting from the social one up to the political one.

The connection between politics and religion was translated into the belief that the person endowed with most authority on earth was a representative of God, having similar characteristics. Since the authority derived from god, it was very difficult for people to fight it and prove it was wrong.

In addition, the association between politics and religion created a general impression according to which the final purpose of the political process might be a spiritual one. Thomas Hobbes differentiates himself through an approach according to which the state is a laic institution and politics a rather pragmatic process orientated at achieving various objectives set by the individuals in the search of their own happiness.

The book, called "Leviathan or The matter, forme and power of a common wealth ecclesiastical and civil" is filled with images, the importance of which is more than relevant. The preset paper will provide an accurate description of the book's cover page. In addiction, it will try to interpret and analyze it.

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I believe that, being the first picture that the readers have contact with, the cover picture is extremely important. Its function is to let the possible reader know what the book is al about. In other words it can be considered a visual summary of the entire book. Taking into consideration the fact that the book is sold everywhere in the world and its author probably assumed people would continue to read it a long time after his death, it is safe to assume that the cover book is full of symbols which can be interpreted in a similar manner in the societies all over of the world and also as time goes by.

Research Proposal on Hobbes Leviathan Assignment

The cover picture is constituted by several drawings. There are eleven images, out of which one is extremely big and positioned on top, representing what one might imagine to be the Leviathan. The page is divided in two parts, both of them having the same dimensions. The difference is that the upper side is filled with just one image, while the other one hosts ten small pictures. In the space between the pictures there is the title of the book and the name of its author.

Right beneath it is the name of the publishing house, the place where the book was published and the year. These are general information which are to be found on the cover of every book following a standard procedure and helping the reader to find the book more easily.

The ten small pictures are organized in two columns. Five pictures are on the left side and the other five on the right. The size of the five pictures is not the same, some are smaller than others. There are four different dimensions to be noticed. It is important to mention that the dimension of the picture on the left corresponds to the dimension of the picture on the right.

This means that the pictures go together as pairs and one completes the other. I believe that the associations which can be made between the pictures are both horizontal and vertical. Therefore, reading the metatext represented by the images, one can have a story going from the left to the right, just as there is another story to be found going from the top to the bottom and vice versa, from the bottom to the top.

Judging by the manner in which information is organized on the space of the cover picture, it is safe to interpret the importance of the elements according to their positioning. From this point-of-view it can be stated that the elements on top are more important than the ones situated in the lower side of the page.

This is the result of a pragmatic intention on the one side, because the most important element of the book needs to be communicated quickly to the viewer- potential reader. Even in a shot glimpse, the person is supposed to grasp the main idea of the book, deciding whether or not the argument can interest him. On the other hand, the positioning can be interpreted in a symbolical manner. In the history of art, especially painting, the elements which are bigger in size and situated in the upper side of the canvas have always been perceived as being of more relevance.

The title of the book is naturally very important as well, hence its central position. It is important o mention that the title is framed in a manner probably characteristic to the period when the book was published. The font suggests that the book might be something like a tale. The character from the main picture suggests the same thing, but the title o the book is explicit enough in order to eliminate any suspicion regarding the fantastic character of the writing.

The name "Leviathan" is written in capital letters just like the first two words of the subtitle " The matter and forme." The subtitle is an explanation of the title, therefore even if at first one might associate the word "Leviathan" with the picture above, thus making it the name of the character, the subtitle actually explains what the Leviahan is all about, that is a concept (regarding the state and politics).

The first two words, "matter and forme" are also written in capita letters because they are the most important ones from the entire subtitle. The intention of the author was to underline the complexity of his approach, aiming at both substance and shape. Further analyzing the title, it can be said that the power represents an interpretation of the principles mentioned beforehand. The perspective that Hobbes has upon the manner in which society ought to be organized in order to function in an efficient an efficacious manner is to be found in the following key words " common wealth ecclesiastical and civil." Common refers to the fact that living together people divide the entire living process, including the advantages and the disadvantages. The common wealth is the organization form, although wealth might suggest that the final purpose for which people have chosen to organize themselves as a society is wealth.

Another important key word is "ecclesiastical." It is right from the beginning that the writer tries to impose is different view of society. There is a strong political dimension to be found in the book. The word ecclesiastical refers to the importance of the religious conception as far as politics is concerned.

"Civil" renders the idea that the author is concerned mostly with matters regarding civil society. It is important to notice how the title is set first and not the name of the author. From this we can deduce that the writer is more interested in having people first have contact with the name of the book rather than his own. Unlike today, a book was presumably meant to sell through its arguments the quality of the writing not only through the brand quality of the author's name. all in all it is safe to assume that the title is a verbal summary of the pictures which are to be found on the book cover.

Let us then describe and analyze the pictures on the cover page. The main one is divided in two pieces. The lower one represents a vast geographical territory filled with hills. In the bottom of the page there seems to be a town with a church at its centre, the position and the dimension of the church compared to the other buildings in town suggest the idea that the church represents the central authority.

Occupying the centre of the page there is the bust of a masculine figure, with a crown on his head and a sceptre in his left hand. In his right hand, he has a huge sword. We can deduce that he is the Leviathan. We can see just the upper side of his body and it is not clear whether it is covered by an armour or a strange type of skin. Since this is not clear, the viewer has a doubt regarding the nature of the character, whether human or not (superhuman). It is clear however that he is the Leviathan, the incarnation of the power principle and the manifestation of authority.

The arguments which support this statement are represented by the positioning of the character, the size and other symbolic elements such as the sceptre, the crown and the sword. All of them support and justify authority. The sceptre represents civil authority, the crown has a religious connotation and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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