A-Z: General definitions: Soul


The spirit which gives life to a human being; the part which lives on after death; a person's inner being (personality, intellect, emotions and will) which distinguishes them from animals. In the medieval concept called the 'Chain of Being', humans are perceived as being unique in having both body and spirit, unlike the angels above them (spirit alone), or animals below (all body). Consciousness of the need to consider what will happen to the soul after death and divine judgement permeates such Shakespearean dramas as 'Hamlet', 'Othello' and 'Macbeth'.

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