Commenting on the captain of the capsized cruise ship Costa Concordia who abandoned the ship too soon, The Guardian (January 24) recommended more modern morals than those that prevailed during Shakespeare’s times:
“Alcoholics Anonymous has the phrase: ‘Fake it till you make it.’ If you want to become a different sort of person, first act like you are, and the acting will eventually transform you. Pretend to be the person you want to be and you will end up becoming more like that person.
“This cuts right against the grain of familiar assumptions that moral change comes from within, that the most important thing is expressing who you really are – ‘To thine own self be true,’ as Polonius puts it in Hamlet. From this perspective, an honest confession of our own weakness – our lack of courage, for instance – becomes the only real expression of virtue. In other words, an emphasis on authenticity can easily become an alibi for a refusal of character development.”