Make me a man…

After a heated debate with Gareth about who was to see Black Sun Drum Korps, then the chat with Peter McMaster about what a man is, got me thinking.

What is a man? He is flesh, he is blood, but he also has a certain way of thinking and behaving.

The morning call I got yesterday from one of my best friends, Q, pretty much summed up what a man was not – in my head, at least.

A man is not someone who drinks and acts like an asshole to the woman who has waited so long to see him again. I can’t expand further since it is not really my story to tell. Yet there are examples of what men are not all the time.

Then again, I always end up speaking of the ideal; a human has flaws as well as virtues, so this ‘man’ I speak of must be allowed some error, but then… are we all condemned to strive towards perfection which is never feasible or are we meant to find perfection and beauty in our imperfections?

What is the mark of a man? I think it is not up to me to ordain myself a man. I can’t just wake up and say ‘I am a man now’, that is not how it works. But then, aside from the biological side of it, what is the difference between a man and a boy, between a man and a woman? What allows one to say ‘that is a man’ and ‘that is not’?

All this thinking led me back to Shakespeare. Admittedly I am biased; he is my favourite playwright.And of course, I turned to Macbeth.

When challenged and being taunted as a coward by his wife, as he is hesitant to adhere to his oath to kill his king, Macbeth snaps back a response that has tormented schoolchildren and scholars for years:

I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more is none.

[Macbeth, Act I, Scene 7]

But then… what is a man?


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