Yesterday my Year 10 class and I started decoding some quotes from Act 1, Scene 1 of The Merchant of Venice (awesome play – Google it if you’re not familiar with the story line). A quote that we talked about quite a bit was this one, from Portia:
“If to do were as easy as to know what were good to
do, chapels had been churches and poor men’s
cottages princes’ palaces.”
We worked out that, in a nutshell, it’s a fancy rewording of the cliche ‘easier said than done’. If doing the right thing was as easy as knowing the right thing, the world would be a better place. Lots of people have ideas but few people actually do anything with them.
There are lots of theories for what sets the doers apart from the knowers. I believe, though, that it all comes down to enthusiasm. From enthusiasm comes motivation and from motivation comes action.
To do well in an essay, you have to be a doer. It’s not enough to know that content; if you’re going to do something meaningful with that content, you have to be enthusiastic about it. All very well, I know, but how can you make yourself enthusiastic?
1) Relate it to you. What’s your view on it? How can it be applied to your life?
2) Relate it to people you know. Who do you know who does/thinks this? Who do you know who doesn’t? Once you’ve found a connection to your world, it’s a whole lot easier to give a damn.
3) Pretend. Ever heard of method acting? It’s when an actor manifests themselves in the character – their personality, beliefs, mannerisms – and actually lives that role. They get inside the character and feel their emotions – not so much acting as actually ‘being’ that person. If you can’t connect to a topic in any other way, imagine what it would be like to be someone who’s enthusiastic about it, and try to be that person for a little while.
I’ll leave you with the other quote that we talked about a lot yesterday, from Antonio:
“I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
A stage, where every man must play a part”