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Brave new world


A nice Shakespeare quote appeared on our wall today. The title of Aldous Huxley’s famous 1932 novel Brave New World is taken from here. Citing from Wikipedia:

Brave New World’s title derives from Miranda‘s speech in William Shakespeare‘s The Tempest, Act V, Scene I:[4]

O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.
William ShakespeareThe Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–206[5]

This line itself is ironic; Miranda was raised for most of her life on an isolated island, and the only people she ever knew were her father and his servants, an enslaved savage, and spirits, notably Ariel. When she sees other people for the first time, she is understandably overcome with excitement, and utters, among other praise, the famous line above. However, what she is actually observing is not men acting in a refined or civilized manner, but rather drunken sailors staggering off the wreckage of their ship. Huxley employs the same irony when the “savage” John refers to what he sees as a “brave new world”.

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