All That Glitters is Not Gold
We should be wary of glittering appearances. In our daily life, we come across a number of people. A few may be pick-pockets, a few swindlers, a few shop-lifters, etc. They may wear very attractive clothes and be polite and amiable in their dealings with others. They may smile at them. We may think they arc persons with lofty characters. Later we may get opportunities to learn of their real ways of living. We must remember, there are several wolves in sheep’s clothing.
There are several politicians and social reformers who do not act up to what -they say. In ‘public, they deprecate the corruption, communalism,—nepotism, and moral turpitude that have become a canker in society. We are moved by their sublime idealism. But if we examine their personal lives, we shall be able to find that they are the embodiment of these vices.
Some men live in poverty. But their status in society does not allow them to tell others of their pecuniary difficulties. They often try to_ keep up appearance. We are reminded of Kailas Babu in Tagore’s story The Babus of Nayanjore. He is in the seventh heaven when the young man, the narrator of the story ‘comes forward to marry his granddaughter Kusum.
In English literature, we come across many characters that are treacherous. At first, we may think they are’ honest and sincere. Sooner or later we are forced to change our estimates of their-character. After listening to the words uttered by the ghost of his father (Act I, Scene V), Hamlet comes to the conclusion that a damned villain may hoodwink and deceive others by smiling. He says “At last I’m sure it may be so in Denmark”. Hamlet is stupefied by the horrible treachery shown by Claudius, his uncle. How can Duncan think that his ‘loyal’ subject and kinsman Macbeth, who has been made the Thane of Cawdor, will murder him? Lady Macbeth, to quote Charles Lamb, knows the art of covering treacherous purposes with smiles. She tells her husband to look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it. (Act I, Scene V). She uses a grim euphemism for the murder of the generous King Duncan:
He that’s coming
Must be provided for:
(Act I, Scene V)
When King Lear divides his kingdom between Goneril and Regan, he cannot even dream that they will show filial ingratitude. The credulous Lear is taken in by hypocritical daughters. Their fulsome expression of love pleases him. Several characters call Iago ‘honest’, Desdemona calls him `good Iago’. According to Prof. Bradley, the word ‘honest’ is applied to him some fifteen times in the play the logo is a villain who is bent on ruining Othello. Iago is artful. He has studied human nature deeply and he succeeds in making Othello jealous of Cassio. Lear, as well as Othello, fail to realize that all that glitters is not gold. In his letter to Imogen, Posthumous describes machismo as ‘one of the noblest note’. But he resorts to very mean tricks to win the wager. Prospero does not think that he and his daughter Miranda will be expelled by his brother from the dukedom with the help of Alonso, King of Naples. Sergeant Troy looks handsome, but he ruins Fanny Robin. We are also reminded of Compeyson and several other villains. Appearances are often deceptive. it is, therefore, necessary for us to act with circumspection.
All That Glitters is Not Gold
It has often been seen that appearances are often deceptive. We cannot judge the quality of anything by seeing its exterior only. Life is something really strange. In life, we come across several things and persons that are entirely different from what they look like. Outward shows are generally misleading. The same is the case with certain experiences of life. Adversity, for example, is painful and ugly. But Shakespeare tells us that even adversity is sweet. Adversity, according to him, is like the toad. It is ugly and poisonous but it wears precious jewels on its head. Autumn is a season of death, decay, and dullness. But to Keats, it is a season of mellow fruitfulness and joy he says :
“Where are the songs of springs? Ay, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music too”
Similarly, a happy experience may turn out to be very harmful in the long run while a delicious dish may be poisonous in effect. In a battle-field, deceptive senses are too common. Shakespeare wrote the line ‘All that glitters is not gold’ about four hundred years ago. It is as true today as it was when the great dramatist wrote it. In fact, it has been true right since the dawn of creation. Poor Adam, leading a life of joy in the garden of Eden was deceived into eating the forbidden fruit by glittering talk of Satan. As a result, the poor fellow was thrown out of the garden forever. The glittering golden deer captivated the heart of Sita. She compelled Lord Rama to go and bring that prized animal to her. She was carried away to Lanka and the battle of Ramayana had to be fought to bring her back. The thing it proves, are never what they seem to be. All that glitters is not gold.
This world is full of human beings who pose to be men of God, pious, and religious. But in fact, they are rogues and villains. A man May smile and smile and yet to be a villain. A woman in a shining dress and golden tresses may well turn out to be a flirt. What happens to the devoted moth? It stands dazzled in the glowing beauty of the lovely flame. Lost in its outward glitter, it keeps on droning around it blissfully. It burns its wings in the process and falls down dead.
Look at the flood of advertisements attacking one’s ears day in and day out. Shining labels are displayed and tall claims are made. The poor customer is cheated into buying worthless things and wasting his hard-earned money. Appearances are often deceptive. We should not run after outward beauty. Real beauty does not lie in the superficial appearance of a thing or a person. A lovely skin may be hiding a heart full of cruelty within. A soft, sweet, voice may be hiding a ruthless attitude. On the contrary, a rough exterior may be having a heart of gold within, a dirty looking stone may be a real gem. A man should be judged not’ from his looks but from his actions. Gold is a shining thing but all shining things are not gold. All that glitters is not gold.