The Influence of the Literature of the 17th Century on the Modern World


The preliminary encounter with literature for most people comes from reading and writing in school at an early age. We start empathising with the group of characters in folklore. Later, as learning evolves, we sense messages and themes that open a different way of thinking. The 17th century is poignant in that respect. It has had a great influence on the modern world in many ways, as the unceasing storms and violent disturbances present valuable lessons for everyone.

The 17th-century literature

There was a shift to reason from faith in the 17th century, which brought on turbulence in religion and society. Life changed for many people, and as religious controversy shook the world, it reformulated the individuals’ roles. This was reflected in the writings and literature of that era, which influenced the masses. Writers of the 17th century offered their philosophies as evidence of issues and scientific discoveries. These new philosophies and ideas changed how people saw themselves and the society around them. Education became widely available. Science and art flourished. Focus shifted from work and social life to an individualistic society.

Free essay example for inspiration

Macbeth is a classic piece of literature written by William Shakespeare in the 17th century. This forceful and strong play cautions us against instability and power abuse resulting from political violence. Shakespeare wrote it to drive home the message that disaster will follow if we disturb the natural order of things. The message is relevant even today. Although Macbeth was written in a different era, the themes about human nature ring true even today. It can be a good topic for a research paper for a college student. Free examples of actual “Macbeth” essay can be found on the Gradesfixer website. The examples of essays can be a valuable source of inspiration for your assignment. It remains the most popular piece of literary work by William Shakespeare. The story shows how ambition can lead us to madness.

A window to the past

The literature of the 17th century allows us a sneak preview of the history of that era. The lives of people and the different stages that were so different than ours are depicted in the literature of this period. Without that timestamp, we would not know anything about that time gone by. The 17th-century literature depicts and shows us flawed characters who lived through challenging times. It paints humanity when it is at its best and when it is at its worst. Although 17th-century literature talks about the past, it is also suggestive of present affairs. It forces us to view today’s human conditions.

Superstition gives way to reasoning

The 17th century was called the enlightenment era or the age of reason. It was a time when there was a new emphasis placed on reasoning as opposed to custom and tradition. Thought and reason started gaining prominence. This influenced the writings and philosophies of many authors. Political thinkers reappraised how politics and society should be structured. The scientific, political, and philosophical discourse of the 21st century is greatly influenced by the emphasis on the reasoning of the 17th century. The present-day effects are also seen in the individualistic way of living and the developments in science.

Separation of religion and state

In the 17th century, the rules under which the state was organized were borrowed from the rules of the church. But the thinkers realized that this was not compatible with the modern way of living. So, they wrote about the need to separate the church from the state. This way of running state affairs has found its way into the modern constitution. Nowhere are our modern problems and old literature of the 17th century and their influence more poignant than in the way we compartmentalize state and religion. This means that although individuals are free to use their religious convictions, the government is prohibited from doing so. That is why governments do not favor or reject any religion.

Industrialisation and economic growth

Industrialisation was a direct result of the great thinking and literature of the 17th century. It was the stepping-stone that culminated in the modern economic growth we know today. With this bustling economic power, nations started gaining strength in a variety of ways, including the capacity to participate in global trading. The Industrial Revolution helped many nations transition from an agrarian society to a manufacturing hub.


The influence of the 17th century literature in the modern world is revolutionary, to say the least. With the explosion of newspapers, books, pamphlets, and magazines, the literary thinking of the 17th century soon took root and spread like wildfire. Inquiry and reasoning, the quintessential hallmarks of modern society, are products of this 17th century literature. It prepared the perfect environment for new ideas related to science and philosophy from which humankind has learned a lot.

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