Shakespeare’s fantastic anecdote on life, comparing it to a stage and self as an actor is true, but only partly. Like he portrays in his work All the world’s a stage. The world is indeed a stage. The curtains do fall and rise. The spotlights are indeed there. There are soliloquies, tragedies, romance and comedies. There are actors entering the play, and then exiting as well. But, from my perspective, you are a spectator, not an actor. Shakespeare’s perception of oneself as an actor in the play on this grand stage might be true for days of the past, but in today’s theatre, we are so busy that we are merely watching our lives unfold act by act as spectators instead of acting in it ourselves.
In his poem All the world’s a stage, Shakespeare enlists seven roles which a person acts out in this play - the first one being an infant. That’s true. But that is where the fallacy begins to show up when superimposed over the modern day scenario. Right after you are born, you are declared the king of your life. Then without much ado, amidst a grand ceremony you are taken to be seated in the gallery of the theatre to watch your own life being acted out. You might think otherwise; your mind ready to protest at what I just said. But, think again. Are you really acting out your own life? This translates to: Are you living your life?
The king sits there in the gallery watching the play unfold act by act - his own life. He is so amused at the play that he forgets that his life is being acted out by actors with veiled faces; the people he meets in life - the king ever so busy to partake in his life. The faces of actors unveil gradually as the play progresses. Spotlight on the stage keeps shifting from one actor to the other. Some actors in the play are dynamic. Some are predictable. The king sees and hears what is shown to him in the play. He perceives the entwined dialogues of the actors, believing each expression they hurl at him. Dramatic effects are rendered by a delusion created by smoke engulfing the stage. There are times when trust, friendship, relations and belief relying heavily on the presence of the smoky delusion scatters away like the smoke itself. The reality is so tainted by pretense that our life manifests itself as clay, which takes shape at the whims and fancies of the storm. Act by act, as the play unfolds, the king experiences several emotions. Comedies, tragedies, romance and mysteries affect the king emotionally. He becomes so engrossed in the play that he feels like being a part of it. The title of ‘king’ held by us loses its meaning. Something strange occurs during the denouement - the final act of the play. It depicts the calamitous death of the king who hardly played any part in the play. Life is surely an illusion.
However, life may not be an illusion if you stop looking it from the perspective of a spectator. Life must be looked at from the point of view of an actor taking part in the play. The true essence of being the “king of your own life” is a matter of perspective.