Literature And Human Behaviour Essay

This essay has a total of 1241 words and 5 pages.

Literature And Human Behaviour

Compare and evaluate the ways in which literature on the one hand, and the human sciences
on the other may help us to know and understand human behaviour.


Literature has been a major part of human culture throughout human existence. It has
always been used as a way of defining how humans interact with each other. Literature is
defined as ‘the writings of a period, language, or country'. If ancient times are also
to be considered, then myths, legends, and theatre, which passed down literary ideas, and
social critiques before the time of the written word, should also be included in this
definition. The plays of William Shakespeare are a perfect example of pieces of literature
that are not only entertaining, literature for literature's sake, but also provide great
insight into human nature. In one form or another, literature is entrenched as an
expression of the ways of humanity, and so by absorbing it, one can gain a greater
understanding of human behaviour.


The human sciences offer a different angle to the understanding of human behaviour as
literature does. Literature gives us insight into what is going on inside people's minds.
How someone from a culture that one might not understand, thinks. Many of Shakespeare's
plays are centered around the downfall of a particular character. This downfall arises
from within the character, it is the result of a tragic flaw. The human sciences on the
other hand, provide information on how humans interact with each other. They often involve
social studies in which experiments involving the interactions of humans are observed and
recorded. If for example some human scientists performed a particular experiment with
enough people, and got a similar result each time, they can conclude that a human being is
likely to act in a certain way, given the situation which was in the experiment. In this
way human scientists can draw conclusions as to what is a normal reaction for a person to
have in a situation, and can describe traits which are almost universal to humans. These
human sciences give us a knowledge of the external aspects of human behaviour, which is
extremely valuable to have. If for example, a police force wanted to know whether or not a
new method they had developed for deterring graffiti artists worked efficiently or not,
they might perform a human science experiment, where they secretly test their method on a
sample of would-be graffitists. The results could tell them if it would be productive for
them to put resources into developing and employing this method, or whether it was
inefficient and would be a waste of resources.


Literature will often delve deep into the human mind, to seek the unknown. Some literature
may attempt to describe perceptions of the world from the mind of a serial killer. If
written well, and researched thoroughly, this literature would be enthralling, and
probably disturbing, because it is teaching us about the human behaviour of someone who is
very different from ourselves. (hopefully) It would show to the reader an aspect of human
behaviour that is not common among all people, but is infact rare. From this we would
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