While people in the English Renaissance wore different clothes and had no access to digital technology, their artistic expressions and the experiences these embody still have an impact on human being living in the 21st century.
My Shakespeare class was a great journey, as well as my journey here in Australia. I can’t believe it’s almost time for me to go back home! If time has flown this fast it means that I have enjoyed a lot everything here! By the end of the semester I can say that what I learned from Michael and this course it has been something very precious and meaningful to me, which I’m sure I won’t forget! Having had the opportunity to write blogs, to share comments and advices with my new course-mates and even to give my own opinion about something in class has been something completely new to me, that stimulated me, that has broaden my knowledge and strengthen my confidence!
After this short premise, if I have to think about what stroked me the most of the Renaissance period, that still influences our society, it is undoubtedly the exploration of the deeper feeling of human condition: no matter when, who and how, I think it is something that all people should do in order to live a balanced interior life in harmony with the external world.
By analysing the poems or plays, by giving my own version and opinion in my blogs, I have felt a bit like working and reasoning like people did in the renaissance: that is, working and reasoning below the surface, to go deeper, and find the hidden meanings and emotions behind literary texts.
The purpose of life at that time, I believe was to discover meaning of life itself, which is not something obvious. Even W. Ralegh tried to ask himself what life was, in his poem “”What is our life?” or to reason about life’s deep issues as for example death in his poem “The lie”. My third blog (https://beatricefait.wordpress.com/2017/04/01/blog-topic-week-5-2/) was about some reflections on life and death in his poems, and I found extremely interesting analysing closely the text in order to extrapolate these issues through symbols and metaphors. I believe the fear of death or the sensation of feeling ourselves lost is still a concepts that lingers in our society and that leads many contemporary people to depression.
Also Shakespeare is often appreciated because of his understanding of human emotions better than any other writer. He inherits a tragic-comic view of the human situation, for which he transmits, through the character of King Lear, his recognition of the suffering of others. For Shakespeare that is the key that brings balance and some kind of order into a person’s life. It has been very interesting to discover the history behind the figure of the fool in my last blog (https://beatricefait.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/blog-topic-week-10-2/). Sometimes I think all of us would need the so called figure of the ‘fool’ beside us, our own ‘talking cricket’ that tells us the deeper truth of something that we cannot see and realise by ourselves, or that we don’t want to because it hurts. Nowadays we choose the easiest way to solve our problems: escaping. Rather than facing reality and acknowledging our mistakes and weaknesses we keep choosing to be fleeting people, stuck on the surface of things and relationships.
I have a pretty tragic vision of the world and the society as it is nowadays and I think you can read this in my blog about the situation on earth seen from the moon’s perspective. (https://beatricefait.wordpress.com/2017/04/24/blog-topic-week-8-2/) I believe that this is because, also thanks to this class, I realised the huge gap that exists between the ancient and the contemporary society. What brought me to these kind of reflection, which I exposed throughout my blogging experience, is certainly literature.
Literature works cover the human feelings of the time they refer to; they try to extract the essence as far as they can. For this reason, we must be curious and look at those novels in order to get closer to the society in which we live, and to try to understand something about a specific time. In our society, I would define our social relationships always more dim, evanescent, tied only to the provisional nature of the moment, to the specific experience experienced in that circumstance. And we find ourselves every time trapped in an endless loop, we find ourselves to start over again without knowing why, without fully understanding why we are so involved and what’s behind everything, without understanding what it is that prevents us to be 100% happy! I believe renaissance artists were in possess of something very precious, which we don’t have nowadays, even though we live in the most unbridled luxury: the key for their happiness.
Even though they did not have the newest pair of shoes, they did not know what technology was, they did not have access to the amenities we have today, they did not have a quick answer at any time they wanted, and they had to find it out by themselves with their efforts, they had the capacity to wonder, to be curious to look for all the responses in nature and to inspire themselves from the singing of birds or the jumping of rabbits. They lived in harmony with the world and nature, giving importance to what was essential to their own happiness, without anything superfluous. We should pay all the gold of the world to regain that magic!
Renaissance art, more in general, has shown us people’s emotions and I think it has taught us how to manifest and acknowledge our own emotions; it has shown us how nature has always been and should be an integral part of man.
Sometime I wish I could live like the woman portrayed in the painting above: in harmony with nature, focusing on herself completely disinterested, careless and detached from problems and complications!
Fortunately there are still courses like this, which I had the opportunity to attend, where we share the desire of going beyond the superficial and to learn to see and to feel life as it truly is; that is, cultivate imagination. Trying to wonder through a few poem’s lines or by visualising some images when we stare at a painting. Life is a mystery, and there is so much more that we have to discover and I feel, thanks to this great journey, I have discovered so much more than what I thought there was!
Thank you Shakespeare’s class and Michael for all this!