The Idea of the Human As Seen by Golding and Shakespeare – English Essay
To come to a view of human behavior, one must have a theory of psychology of how we act, and why we do so. This theory would probably stem from one of two things, it
could stem from introspection, the analysis of oneself and thus pulling conclusions from this and making generalizations about others, from seeing your own reasoning of why you do things. Of course this would require relatively little amount of delusion to be able to do intelligently. Another way would be “outrospection” or the analysis of the behaviors of others in their environment.
Both of these writers come from very different periods in time, and so it is expected that the mentality would differ greatly, and thus any way they would decide to analyze human behavior will vastly differ for each, as the mentality for the time periods will be different but it seems more plausible for Golding to have used “outrospection”, especially considering the historical accounts that had taken place, where the wars were much more traumatizing. Being subject of his environment, Golding’s view of the human species seems to be much darker then Shakespeare’s. So dark that his book almost comes across as a warning to take accountability for our actions and behavior before we’re forced to take responsibility for them where the outcome might not have been as good as if we had willingly done so.
Though we can’t be positive as his view of humans, we can assume that the way these writers view humans and human psychology, is interpreted through their books, and going off of this assumption we can imagine what they think of humans. On page 195 of Golding’s Inheritors Lok has discovered the use of similes and begins to make a systematic chain of simile’s describing the people. He begins by saying “The people are like a famished wolf in the hollow of a tree.”, where people were hungry but were frightened of the world and others, this is how most of us are when we are born, we tend to cling to our mother or father because we are scared of the outside, and would rather stay in the hollow of a tree, where we know it’s safe. Eventually we trickle out, when we become more comfortable with the world. After being accustomed to the world around us, people go from what was once sweet to becoming the “new honey that smells of dead things and fire” which represents their fall to corruptions. This corruption and greed soon ensues the hunger for power, where we were once content with being hungry for knowledge, we now become hungry for possessions and power, and let nothing stand in our way like “the river and the fall”. After so much false sense of power, and possessions, and domination at the expense of others, we ultimately succumb to our delusion, and start to believe that all these newly conquered and acquired things give us more power, enough to make us believe we are even god. The new people have no hesitation to kill other human beings, where even attacking another human was unfathomable in Lok’s world, now he sees humans take the lives of other humans. If this were to be seen from an
outside source such as Lok, this could easily be portrayed as extreme arrogance, to think one would hold himself above other’s enough to deem themselves able to take lives away from people, surely only Oa would have such power. All of these sentences individually represent his view of humans, but I believe his true vision of humans is seen when all these are strung together to give a chronological view of human evolution which will ultimately lead us to our own demise.
Shakespeare doesn’t seem to have such a negative view of humans and seems to have more faith in the human race then Golding as seen in Much Ado About Nothing. Of course he acknowledges that there will always be the good and the bad in the world, the same duality that we saw in Inheritors, but on that same note Shakespeare seems to think that as long as one perseveres, that truth and good will always prevail.
Shakespeare shows us such huge dualities in personality such as Benedict and Beatrice in respect to Hero and Claudio, where the former seems to have a more cynical view of the respective sex, we start seeing some dramatic changes in both of them. It seems that Shakespeare believes, even if one is more negative to begin with, they will gravitate towards goodness, this is also shown when Boracio and Conrade are caught in the streets talking about how they just conned Don Pedro and Claudio in thinking they it was Hero in the window and are caught by Verges and Dogberry. They could have kept it a secret and lied, but in the name of the greater good, for their honor, they told the truth.
In a world where honor, truth, and virtue are above all, what would be more damaging then removing and this is exactly what Don John and Boracio attempt to do to Hero by making her appear as someone who is unfaithful. This indicates that Shakespeare
does not only think that one can go from bad to good (as seen by Boracio and Conrade, and to a lesser degree Benedict and Beatrice) but that some are intrinsically born with these qualities such as in Hero who comes across as being very serene and pure.
One of the underlying themes in both cases is the change or the evolution of the people. Golding seems more to want to tell us that the evolution shown in the book, becoming the new people a much greater evil, is what has happened. In Golding’s world men are seen as corruptible and will eventually fall to this corruption, as dominating and power hungry creatures. We went from being very peaceful and being so innocent to something with ambitions to conquer others, while most of the change that occurs in Much Ado About Nothing seem to be much more positive. It never seemed like a personality trait of Boracio’s or Conrade’s that they would admit to saying the truth to anything and yet we see them say the truth even though it puts them at risk, a sacrifice for truth. Nor did we ever expect Benedict or Beatrice to ever fall in love, even more so with each other, because of their radical views in regards to the opposite sex. But truth and good prevailed in the end.