This Week I Learned:
This week in PLP we finished reading and analyzing Act 1 of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”, and we learned more about the 1940’s and 50’s Post WWII and Cold War events. Our driving question, “Using Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and the history of the 1950’s, how can we use film to explore the theme of appearance vs. reality, and comment on what’s changed and what’s stayed the same?” outlines our task for this unit, although we haven’t begun depicting this with film yet. Comparing the similarities of Shakespearian times to the 1950’s is a fascinating thing, as the actions taken by leaders, the treatment of women, and the idea of appearance vs reality, show lots of likeness between them.
Comparing the 1950’s and “Macbeth”, there are many similarities, the biggest and most obvious in my opinion, being how far a person will go to satisfy their ego and ambition. The first act of “Macbeth” is centred around showing Lady Macbeth and her husband’s character and priority. Once the 3 witches give Macbeth the expectation of such a reward as becoming king, he is relentless in his desire to fulfill that prophecy. Lady Macbeth is this way as-well, when it’s learned that she may become Queen, she’ll stop at nothing to make it so. But Macbeth and Lady Macbeth must act as though nothing’s the matter by inviting Duncan into their home, complimenting him, and even truly personally admiring him. Although nothing is more important than their ambition, so they hide their true intentions until the time is right.
This attitude is a direct mirror of how the leaders after WWII behaved towards each other, on the surface, a cooperative body of stability for the world, but then when their time comes, they’ll strike against anyone who disagrees with them. An example being President Truman at the Potsdam Conference in July/ August of 1945. Stalin, Attlee, and Truman discussing, deliberating, and deciding things together that would shape our world, yet Truman doesn’t disclose to them that he had the atomic bomb ready to go down on Japan 3 days later.
These examples show the theme of appearance vs reality along with that of human ambition, we as people looking back on the events of the past with more knowledge and a different sense of morals can see and map out all of the instances where appearance and reality weren’t fully cohesive, and it’s interesting how common it is, it makes me wonder what things that future people will see when looking back on our time, and how the appearance to us now matches the reality.