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We Are Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On

 July 19, 2018

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little lives are rounded with sleep.” The Tempest, William Shakespeare

I have long loved this quote. I’m not sure why, I just know I’ve loved it since I first heard it while studying Shakespeare in high school, way too long ago to remember. Prospero, a magician, recites this towards the end of the play, “our revels now are ended . . .” as the story is drawing to a close. He is growing old and losing some of his abilities to conjure spells and illusions. The sleep he refers to is the sleep of death, a reminder that our lives are short. A reminder to appreciate the time we have.

“O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world that hath such people in ‘t!” Miranda, Prospero’s daughter who has grown up in seclusion, says when she sees men. We are God’s creation and wondrous are we! I like the idea that not only do we have dreams, we are dreams. We are God’s dream.

Does this mean that this life we are living is but a dream, a dream we will wake from when we die? Are we just poor knock-offs of a greater reality? Our lives but an illusion as Plato indicated? He claimed that that which we call “tree” is but a resemblance of this greater reality which is “tree” in its purest essence – one of the few concepts I recall from my one and only philosophy class as a freshman at Michigan State University, Justin Morrill College.

We are such stuff as dreams are made on!

But what of our dreams:  those we have while we sleep and those we create for our lives? Dreams are necessary. They provide release while we sleep, as our mind works out problems from the day, and they provide vision for our lives when awake. As the prophet Joel tells us, “without vision the people perish.” Dreams are important. Dreams change as we change. Our life circumstances have a way of purifying our dreams if we are open to this. We are made to dream.

In my novel, Dreamweavers, you meet people at different stages of life, each with dreams appropriate to that stage. It’s an exploration of those waking dreams we all need. In writing this it was not my intent to help my readers escape from the reality we call life, but rather to have them enter more deeply into this reality and see it with new eyes. We truly are beauteous creatures, and this life, with all of its hardships and struggles, is better than any fantasy I can conjure. After all, Prospero’s magic is but an illusion.

We are such stuff as dreams are made on! We truly are God’s dream!

This summer, The Tempest is being produced by the Michigan Shakespeare Festival.  Tickets are still available. Check out this professional production of one of Shakespeare’s great classics!


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