Shakespeare was born in April 1564. Some people say he was born on 22nd April others opine 23rd April 1564. He died at the age of 52 years on 23rd April 1660 that means almost 400 years ago.
How is it that his popularity as a dramatist has not faded out? The reason is his philosophy, the wisdom that we find in his plays and the energizing wit and humor of his comedy. In fact, these transcend the limits of time and space. He has dealt with human emotions – anger, ambition, jealousy, credulity, indecision etc: these habits are found in the people even today.
In this post I propose to discuss his wisdom as is evident from the 3 pieces I have picked from 3 different plays.
Hamlet was a victim of indecision. Indecision was the bane of his life. Unfortunately today also we find many of us suffer from indecision. In the process we undergoavoidable mental agony. I give below the oft quoted words of Hamlet. To be, or not to be: that is the question: whether’ it’s nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?
In sharp contrast are the following words taken from his play As You Like It.
As You Like It.
And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.
These words, I find, are even more relevant today than were in his own time. ‘Exempt from Public Haunt’- we are in dire need of getting a break and going to the nature from our daily hectic life. And the best place is back to the nature. We have lots of resorts by the sea side, on the scenic mountains, and similar places where we are away from ‘Public Haunt’. As Shakespeare says we can speak to the trees enjoy running brooks/trees and find all the goodness of the world in nature.
Finally I have picked up a very significant point from the tragedy- Macbeth. :
When our actions do not, our fears do make us traitors.
The philosophy of this word is as true today as at any time. Often we do not want to act as Williams yet due to our fears we are motivated to indulge. In many other plays to I find Shakespeare’s massage to imbibe courage in ones personality, speaks louder than words.
Thank you for reading.
Traditionally, it is accepted that Shakespeare was born on 23rd April, 1564. He was the third child of a tanner, father of eight children. Shakespeare left a lasting legacy. Today, after nearly four centuries, people are so fond of his literature, that they think that Shakespeare is still living among us. His plays, his characters, his poetry, and his knowledge of the human mind – all transcend the limits of time and space. He died on the same date 23rd April 1616. Within his short life, he created poetry and plays the essence of which has influenced generations of writers throughout the world.
His spontaneity and the magical music of the sounds of the words cannot be described in words. It has to be experienced to understand what it is. The sheer intensity of his life and the strong desire to express himself resulted in the wonderful treasure that we have in the form of his poetry and plays.
Shakespeare’s characters are real and life-like. His tragic heroes suffer from one major tragic flaw. For example, King Lear is credulous and gives in to the flattery of his two elder daughters. The youngest daughter who truly loved him would use no such flowery words and got nothing out of his kingdom and his wealth. In the play, King Lear has to suffer for the rest of his life due to the one tragic flaw of being credulous and prone to flattery. How many of us continue to suffer even today.
Julius Caesar on the other hand was extremely ambitious. Thus, it was the tragic flaw of ambition that led other senators to murder him. Even today, there are people like Shakespeare whose unbridled ambition causes them to suffer from this tragic flaw.
Extreme hunger for Power saw the end of Macbeth. In fact, each of Shakespeare’s tragedies ends in a nemesis that gives an inspiration to all of us to improve and develop and grow. Because left to themselves, things can only go from bad to worse.
His play ‘ The Merchant of Venice’ leaves a harsh message for extremely harsh negotiators. Demands must draw their own limits. So, negotiators must look for win-win situations, rather than facing flak in the end.
More on this great man and the lessons to be learnt in my next posting.