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Finding Ourselves in Shakespeares Alls Well That Ends Well Macbeth Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet Who are we Paul Simon said I am a rock John Lennon said I am the walrus Steve Miller said Im a joker Im a smoker Im a midnight toker Richard Nixon said I am not a crook Basically it boils down to this people naturally dont really know who they are or really are These metaphorical song lyrics excluding Tricky Dick seem to be searches at an explanation of the self People have been attempting to secure their identities forever At first this search seemed synonymous with a search of an origin Religious doctrines were devised to explain who people are and if not how they should be However ones identity or soul or true self is not a stagnant or secure identity Ones character or self is always apt to evolve with age and experience or quicker depending on situations like if one is drunk Cassio etc The ambiguity of peoples personage is a theme Shakespeare explores in most of his works He does so with many means the use of costumes magic dishonesty and most often with confusion Characters in Shakespeare are never what they seem Hamlet says I know not seems Iago says Im not what I am Henry V says Presume not that I am the thing I was What Shakespeare seems to be doing is breaking down identities We develop a discourse of pattern-based predictions about who people are and how they will behave When people act differently or out of our perception of their character we assume something is wrong We all fester a natural tendency to seek black and white or at least know where people stand Trust and honesty declared and respected virtues are based on this inherent need Shakespeare again and again breaks these beliefs down by basing all significant action in his plays on people
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