TWIL 3: The Act Of Socializing

Socializing is fun. Sometimes… I guess… if you’re extroverted and whatever.

I think I would have enjoyed ballroom dancing way more than the dinner parties we have now days but I also hate dresses so I guess I’m good in the current age.

Social gatherings have changed a lot since the beginning of time. While campfires, bonfires, and cookouts are all still a relevant social gathering in todays age, they are far from the most common social activity. Nowadays (in Western culture) we have:

  • BBQ’s
  • Dinner Parties (not much dancing usually)
  • Potlucks
  • & public meeting areas (restaurants, café’s, bars, pubs, ext.)

Not too many balls are held anymore. Or “great feasts”. That’s just what is expected at a meal with many attendees. 

But some things that haven’t changed, some things that are consistent through from even the 14/1500’s (referred to here as “Macbeth’s Time”) to the 1950’s are:

—ENTERTAINMENT—

Macbeth’s Time:

  • Bear or Bull Baiting
  • Dog Fighting
  • Executions (big no now days)
  • Theatre (NOTE: This was before Shakespeare’s time, so theatre wasn’t as advanced)
  • Music 
  • Fencing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting

People in Macbeth’s time enjoyed blood sports. Things like bear and bull baiting, dog fighting, and even executions were activities people would gather around to see. Theatre and music were also popular in the time and would be more available to higher classed people, but were most likely not sanctioned off just to them. Horseback riding, hunting, and fencing were also all activities people of higher class would enjoy for entertainment. Cricket was another common entertainment, and to some people it is still a form of entertainment today. 

1950’s:

  • Television
  • Movie theatres
  • Reading (books, poetry)
  • Beatnik Poetry [My Post on This Subject]
  • Music (Jazz, Rock n Roll, Classical)
  • Comic books (Superpowers became a fun idea with the discovery of radioactivity and the atomic bomb). 

The outdoors mildly suffered in the activity department in the 1950’s. Not like nowadays when we’re all outside and focused on the world around us at all times…. Right?

The 1950’s was a time of mass consumerism, which makes sense because many new people were being brought into the world (Boomers) and people were settling down after WWII. A very popular new invention was the Television: it was chapter than a babysitter, and more convenient than a movie theatre. Movie theatres became more popular once 3D movies and special effects were introduced, but until that time televisions were all the entertainment people needed. Although there wasn’t exactly a huge variety to watch: the News and Soap Operas mostly. The 1950’s was also the birth of the Beatnik poets and the rise of Superheroes due to post war anti-authority figures (Beatniks) and the discovery of radioactivity and the A Bomb. There were lots of new kinds of entertainment and entertaining technology introduced in the 50’s and many of them are still used today!

 

-DINING-

Macbeths Time:

  • Banquettes
  • Grand Feasts
  • Dinners

In act 3, scene 4 of Macbeth, Macbeth is holding a banquet with Lady Macbeth, Ross, Lenox, and some other lords and attendees. This is an example of a dining style from their age. A banquet of that time would have had around 6 courses of food and would have taken place over many hours. I’m sure had Macbeth not gone crazy during this specific banquet it would have gone on late into the night as well. Dinners would take place with smaller amounts of people, usually the main family of the household. Grand Feasts would have been big dinners with many attendees from all over and would more than likely include live entertainment and dancing.

1950’s:

  • Dinner Parties
  • Family Dinners

In the 1920’s and 30’s, the USA dealt with both Prohibition (the ban of alcohol), and the Great Depression. This meant that when the second world war finally came to an end, people were ready to  P A R T Y.  Music, dancing and eating became big parts of socializing in that time period. When you think 1950’s you think jazz music and dinner parties and that stereotype didn’t come from nowhere. Dinner parties included music, dancing, drinks, appetizers, the whole sh-bang. People were found holding dinner parties for any reason: wanting to see friends, holidays, birthdays, it was warmer that night than earlier in the week, the football was on, and even just because they felt like it!

 

—MUSIC—

Macbeths Time:

  • Church Based Music
  • Classical Music

In Scotland

  • Bagpipes
  • Harps

Music in Macbeths time was mainly church-based as the printing press was yet to exist and so sharing musical theory was not as accessible as it later became. There were bits of classical here and there but again sharing mural theory was a lot less easy in that time. Both of these types of music are known for being soft-er and majestic (so to speak). This is also a common theme in the 1950’s. In Scotland specifically (where Macbeth is based), music was more involved with instruments like the harp and bagpipes. These made more dancelike music for certain occasions, and sad music for dire situations.

The 1950’s:

  • Jazz
  • Classical
  • Rock n Roll

People in the 1950’s enjoyed romanticized music, which means classical music was a good fit. But again this was the party age, and nothing brought on a good dance like the rise of jazz music. Jazz was the music for good times, and classical was the music for slow dancing and soft background music. Much to the horror of many older people at the time, the genre of Rock n Roll was also on the rise in the 1950’s, bring a whole new pandemic of rebellion and electric-guitar-made-chaos. 

 

—CONCLUSION—

Both the age of Macbeth and the 1950’s have clear connections with extravagant social gatherings and styles. In Macbeths age there were blood sports, classical music, and banquets. In the 1950’s there were dinner parties, jazz, and television. Its easy to see now why people like social dinners, tasteful music (sometimes), and watching aggressive sports so much. It’s all through our history. 

Thanks for reading this weeks TWIL post, and the final TWIL post of the Macbeth project. Stay healthy and happy, & have a good one!

 

 

[[SOURCES]]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entertainment_in_the_16th_century

https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/culture-magazines/1950s-arts-and-entertainment-overview

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_music#Genres

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_in_Medieval_Scotland

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