Essay for Shakespeare's Day [Short story]

Essay for Shakespeare’s Day [Short story]

This was an essay I wrote for the Shakespeare’s Day essay contest, which was held for the first time in our town (which has nothing to do with Shakespeare or any British literature whatsoever), spring 2011. I managed to get the first prize with it!The quote is from The merchant of Venice written by Shakespeare himself, of course. The essay was supposed to be based entirely on this one quote.
“The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.”
It is a well-known fact that music – the art which encompasses the second most important of the five basic senses, hearing – has existed alongside humanity since the very beginning. Throughout history, certain individuals have been known to have the remarkable ability to grasp, innovate and share “the concord of sweet sounds” as it had never been heard before. This ability is called having a musical ear – and it is often associated with equilibrium due to the rhythmic succession of musical notes. However, does not possessing this special ear lead to an out of balance, impaired and disruptive existence?
First of all, it should be stated that having no music in oneself does not necessarily refer to lacking musical talent – but to being unable to perceive and appreciate harmony. Harmony is a term generally defined as the opposite of contrast – meaning that two or more elements bound together harmoniously not only avoid being tangled, but actually form an efficient system. A person who does not grasp the concept of systems and structures will most probably seek the reversed notions – chaos and destruction – thus being “fit for treason, stratagems and spoils”.

Second of all, while the lack of musical talent in oneself can be remedied through ear training, the refusal of being enthralled by powerful music cannot. Not enjoying melodic sounds is not an effect of poor art knowledge; rather, its cause can be described as the improper functioning of the part of the brain that deals with rhythm, intervals and parameters. It is common sense that human activities can be summarized as a certain routine, therefore resonating with the repetitive aspect of music. Furthermore, since both these activities and musical sounds are universal and beyond the language barrier, a simple deduction can be formed: a personwho does not synchronize with the basic feelings of joy, fear, sorrow or love portrayed by music cannot synchronize with the heart and soul of humankind itself.

Finally, in order to realize just how great the harm of a non musical existence is to a person, one has to take into consideration exactly how that person would have benefitted from music in the first place. According to recent scientific studies, listening to or performing music not only reduces pain and stress, but it also increases optimism, stimulates thinking processes, maintains a good spiritual health and – most important of all – helps socialize. On the contrary, avoiding music might help develop an anti-social, dangerous and precarious behaviour – a behaviour focused on producing harm, committing treason and not staying true to oneself.

In conclusion, not only do I agree with Shakespeare’s vision regarding “the man that hath no music in himself” portrayed in the extract from “The Merchant of Venice”, but I also feel the impulse to add my own opinion to it. While music may come in various voices and instruments depending on what feelings it transmits, it is to the listener the equivalent of a well to a thirsty traveller – both water and sounds fill the heart and how dry, lifeless and treacherous would that human heart be without them!

Imaginea e de pe