Human Rights

Shakespeare, Human Rights and Inspiration

Shakespeare turns 450

Soliloquy from Hamlet, Act ɪɪɪ Scene 1. William Shakespeare

To be, or not to be, that is the question.

Whether ’tis 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. To die, to sleep

no more; and by a sleep to say we end

the heartache and the thousand natural shocks

that flesh is heir to………………………..

271290 Shakespeare, Human Rights and Inspiration
Cover of William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare reached the ripe old age of 450 in April 2014. His unprecedented literary work is as alive today as it was in the sixteenth century. He knew people probably better than any other playwright of his generation. The beauty, complexity and richness of his words are such that players are able to express themselves and interpret the believable characters he created in many ways. Being a humanist he understood the need for reason and I am sure he would have sympathised with the human rights issues that confront our modern world daily. The opening lines in Hamlet’s soliloquy clearly show his awareness.

When I see an athlete collapse, exhausted, in tears in a packed stadium barely able to walk off the field, regardless of the result, I see a person who has given their all.

I see a person who, through his actions, is able to inspire others never to quit.

When I see a rescue worker, barely able to take another step, stagger out of a collapsed building carrying a child still breathing, I see a man of great compassion.

I see a man who through his compassion can inspire others to do compassionate deeds.

When I see an actor immerse himself so deeply in a role that he is overcome with emotion, I see a great communicator.

I see a person who is able to convey the writer’s message, in such a way, that could inspire others to learn the art of communication so lacking in society today.

When I see a public servant, through avarice, abuse the power entrusted in him by denying the basic right of human dignity, I see an impoverished soul.

I see a person so damaged he is lacking in compassion for his fellow man and, thus, without the ability to inspire. And I wonder ‘Why did we give him the power?’

271290 Shakespeare, Human Rights and Inspiration
inspiration (Photo credit: Christos Tsoumplekas (Back again!))

For what sets us apart is not what we achieve, for ourselves, but how we uplift and inspire our children and those less fortunate to achieve that which they thought was impossible. This, in however small measure, is in itself a great achievement of which any man can be proud.

271290 Shakespeare, Human Rights and Inspiration

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