Describe at least ONE idea that was worth learning about in the text(s).
Explain why the idea was worth learning about in the text(s) as a whole.
“All the world’s a stage.” This famous quote by William Shakespeare, author of Macbeth, underlines the idea that reality is subjective, which is a key idea worth learning about throughout the play. Shakespeare presents this idea to the audience through the use of a variety of language features in in three significant monologues, being “Was the hope drunk,” “Is this a dagger I see before me,” and “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.” These dramatic demonstrations are worth learning about as they stimulate emotional responses in the audience by making us question the nature of reality and can also be linked outside of the text to Plato’s Allegory of The Cave.
Shakespeare sets us the idea that reality is subjective in Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy, “Was the hope drunk?” An example of this is through repetition when Lady Macbeth says, “When you durst do it, then you were a man, and to be more than what you were, you would be so much more than the man.” The repetition of the word man illustrates how Lady Macbeth is trying to emasculate her husband, so he will kill King Duncan and take the throne himself. This links to the idea, as Lady Macbeth has decided that getting the throne is their reality, and she expects Macbeth to fulfil this "manly role to make this happen. This is worth learning about, as it creates an audience response, making us feel pensive but small, by showing us how we choose the script we want to read from, and assign others roles that benefit us. Shakespeare builds on the idea in this monologue, through the use of an analogy. This is when lady Macbeth says, “I would, have plucked my nipple from [my baby’s] boneless gum and dashed his brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this.” Through the use of this analogy, Shakespeare is showing us how Lady Macbeth is trying to make her husband feel shameful that he hasn’t lived up to a stereotypically masculine role, and suggests that even she would be prepared to do it herself. This is worth learning about as it links to the idea, because this predetermined role that Lady Macbeth has assigned to her husband is being used to gain control over him, as he wants to fulfil this stereotypic, subjective role expected of a man like him. The idea that reality is subjective is worth learning about in this monologue as it can be linked to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. The prisoners in the cave have created the shadows to be real to them, as they have never known differently, therefore effectively assigning a reality to themselves, like how Lady Macbeth has assigned a reality to herself where she gets the throne.
After setting up the key idea that reality is subjective in Lady Macbeth’s monologue, Shakespeare builds on this in Macbeth’s monologue, “Is this a dagger which I see before me?” through the use of a rhetorical question. We see this when Macbeth says, “Is this a dagger which I see before me? I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.” Macbeth is beginning to question reality, as he says that either his eyes are deceiving him, or everything else is. This is worth learning about as it links to the idea, as while the dagger is subjectively there for his eyes, he cannot perceive it with any other sense. Shakespeare builds on this idea through alliteration, when Macbeth says, "There’s no such thing. It is the bloody business which informs thus to mine eyes. Shakespeare uses alliteration shows us how Macbeth has come to the conclusion that the dagger isn’t objectively present. This links to the idea, because while the dagger isn’t there for anyone who walks by, it has been created within Macbeth, so while it lasts, is there for him. This is worth learning about, because it makes the audience feel interested and happy, to think about how what we see is not always what is there for other people, so we can choose to accept whether or not it is there for us. Additionally, the idea that reality is subjective is worth learning about in this monologue, as it can be linked back to Plato’s Allegory of the cave. The shadows on the cave walls are similar to the dagger, as they can both only be perceived through the eyes, yet can still be accepted as reality.
In addition to the previous two monologues, Shakespeare concludes the presentation of the idea that reality is subjective through metaphors in Macbeth’s soliloquy, “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.” We see this when Macbeth says, “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.” Shakespeare uses this sombre metaphor to show us how after Macbeth’s wife dies, he decides that even though life is full of events, it is absurd, short, and completely meaningless at the end. This links to the idea, because since we struggle to find an objective meaning in life, we move on to finding a more subjective meaning, that at times can be very nihilistic. This is worth learning about, as it makes the audience feel moved and content, by showing us how while the question is the same for everyone, the answer can vary. Shakespeare builds on the idea in this soliloquy through another metaphor, when Macbeth says “Life is a tale told by an idiot; full of sound and signifying nothing.” Shakespeare uses this metaphor to show us how Macbeth has suddenly developed a very nihilistic approach to life. This is worth learning about, as it links to the idea, because his subjective perspective on life has completely changed following his wife’s death, and only now he has become indifferent to her death and his upcoming doom. Additionally, the idea that reality is subjective is worth learning about in this monologue, as it can again be linked back to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Macbeth has assigned a subjective meaning to life, like how the prisoners have assigned a subjective meaning to the shadows.
“All the world’s a stage.” Is this metaphor true? William Shakespeare helps the audience to decide through the presentation of a challenging idea that reality is subjective. This idea is shown throughout the play including in the three important monologues, “Was the hope drunk,” “Is this a dagger which I see before me” and “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.” It is worth learning about as it stimulates audience emotional responses, by inspiring us to question the nature of reality, and his examples are able to be linked outside of the text to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.