Materialism and Determinism in British Post-Renaissance Philosophy: John Dryden’s The State of Innocence and The Conquest of Granada through the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes

Document Type : Original Article


University of Tehran


The cultural, religious, and political changes caused by the Renaissance in England opened the ground for non-conformist, materialistic philosophies to resurface after decades of religious suppression and gain a voice. Thomas Hobbes was one of the leading materialist philosophers of the seventeenth century who used the post-Renaissance created secular atmosphere to introduce himself as a materialistic philosopher. His presented philosophy gained support among contemporary thinkers and was welcomed by the intellectual circles of the Restoration era, introducing him as a strong supporter of determinism and materialism. He believed in the principle of cause and effect in every phenomenon and rejected the idea of free will in human conduct. Dryden too believed in the idea of the angelic and demonic side of human beings and expressed the concepts of fate, fortune, and chance, through his characters in his heroic plays, and fables. The characters in Dryden’s plays confess the inescapability of their fates and destiny and question the role of the Providence in their lives. The present article attempts to investigate the correlation between the philosophy of determinism adhered by Thomas Hobbes, and its effects on the major works and thoughts of John Dryden.