Studying the literature and culture of the Renaissance has amplified my understanding of what it is to be human.
What does it mean to be human? Is it our ability to empathise, to reason, or to plan? The fact we can understand humour or how we are consciously aware of our connectedness to the world and to one another? It’s a question that has been pondered for centuries and a question I often wondered myself. It wasn’t until I delved into the wonderful world of Shakespeare and the Renaissance that I began to understand what it truly meant to be human.
I have always had a fond appreciation for the lavish language of Shakespeare. However, I thought it would be difficult to relate his writings to modern society. But by developing a more comprehensive understanding of the themes and issues that littered his writings and that surrounded the Renaissance era, I realise that they’re far more relevant than one could’ve imagined. War, love, and politics can be observed every day, whether it’s witnessed in person or on the news. Shakespeare presented love as intense, wonderful, unexplainable and absurd. The love between Bottom and Titania could be interpreted as a strange and somewhat unreasonable love. It highlights how individuals can be blinded by love or even the idea of it. Love is a vital aspect of what it means to be human. It is important to love and to be loved as it completes a natural void in the human heart. Companionship is essential as being with another person allows for love, thus filling the void.
I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about Shakespeare this semester. Being able to reflect on what I have learnt each week through blogging and peer reviewing has been incredible. My class members all share such unique and interesting thoughts that have allowed me to develop a greater appreciation for Shakespeare as I observe him through multiple perspectives. All the peer review feedback I received was extremely insightful and allowed me to continuously improve my writing, as well as give me a different perspective on the topic. My best blog, ‘The promise of a simple love’, highlights my passion for poetry. Being able to respond to the poem “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” by Christopher Marlowe was an absolute pleasure. By reflecting upon his poem and then writing my own, I was able to learn how to write in iambic tetrameter and how a poem can be musical with the right poetic devices such as internal rhyme, assonance, consonance, and alliteration.
Sonnet 146 was another piece of poetry that resonated with me. The idea that the body exists at the expense of the soul was a catalyst that formed many more ideas. It inspired me to write ‘Toxic‘, a piece about realising when to remove yourself from a destructive relationship and that existing purely to please someone else is not existing at all.
Choosing this module has allowed me to feel more confident in analysing and reading the works of Shakespeare. I am so grateful or all the experiences I’ve had in this unit such as seeing Shakespeare’s first folio, as well as visiting the Shakespeare room at State Library. I cannot thank Michael enough and I look forward to studying more enjoyable and engaging units in the future.
“Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow.”