Combining a detailed study of Hegel's political philosophy with close readings of two important literary works that help clarify his thought, MacDonald traces the historical development of an enduring link between personal lives and stable political communities. While Sophocles' Antigone highlights the tension in states that deny the interests of their citizens, MacDonald shows that Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream offers an alternative image, one that sees freedom for all as essential to an ethical family and state and is consistent with Hegel's thought in both the Phenomenology of Spirit and The Philosophy of Right.
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