Forget the small issue of conflicting gender roles; we are all Macbeths, and IB is our Lady Macbeth. Admit it. We started off this journey fresh-faced, seduced by the allure of being inquiring, knowledgeable students of the future, compelled by the thought of being challenged intellectually… But over time, we’ve struggled to catch the false notes in our Lady’s voice, failed to prepare ourselves for the onslaught of assignments; we’ve begun to buckle under the mechanisms of her charm and attention-seeking demands.
Yes, we are Macbeths.
The vast majority of Grade 12s have now studied the eponymous play, and our brains are utterly saturated with quotes that (incidentally) apply to almost every single aspect of our tragic lives.
With a sense of unease and grim recognition, we realize that we are all poor players that strut and fret upon our respective stages. We can’t even count the times we’ve fretted over our EEs, or maths explorations, or even CAS hours… And yet, we all have to put on that mask of disguise and strut our way past those deadlines – we will not be afraid of death and bane!
Not to mention the fact that we chose to murder sleep when we chose to do the IB. We’ve certainly adopted Macbeth’s tendency to pontificate sleep – “that innocent sleep! Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care!” Oh, sleep. Sleep is a luxury, dear juniors. Treasure it. Ere we sleep in the affliction of terrible dreams (i.e. failing HL Maths) that shake us nightly. Many a time we would’ve despaired to cross over to the dark side and consult the three witches – if only an incantation could complete our work for us. Come, stop up the access and passage to procrastination, so that no indolent visitings of nature shake fell my purpose!
Then there are always those lonely times in the night when we literally have to burn the midnight oil to finish that IA. All that resounds in our sluggish, fatigued heads is “Out, out, brief candle!” Life is certainly but a walking shadow when equivalence points, titre values, and cloudy solutions cast their pall over the murky depths of our minds.
Of course, fear not, it’s not all that bad. I’m just kidding (maybe). We’re not Macbeths – at least, not yet.
I think, my fellow sufferers, that this is a warning.
A warning not to be complacent; not to forget, in the midst of all the hurly-burly, the things that truly matter. We cannot let our way of life fall into the sere – we should treasure our honor, love, obedience, and troops of friends. And of course, maintain a loving relationship with our dear Lady IB.
After all, we hardly want to end up a tragic hero like Macbeth, right?
So it seems that Shakespeare’s words still resonate with us four centuries later, in a completely different society and in a wholly different context.
And that, is the beauty of Shakespeare.
(Now do I get full marks for Appreciation of writer’s choices?)
[First published on my school newspaper, One Voice (February 2014 edition) – my last article as an editor!]