In 1606, the bubonic plague returned to London. Two years earlier, it had killed 30,000 of its inhabitants. The plague hit like a hammer that winter. This time the city took no chances. It shut down on a massive scale. All the theaters closed. This was a bitter blow for playwrights and actors. Out of work and under house arrest, they had little to do but twiddle their thumbs and play the waiting game.
A young playwright named William Shakespeare used the lockdown to his advantage. He wrote some of his most famous plays in isolation. The plague had a profound influence on his writing. He captured the tragedy and hope of his era in words that resonate to this day.
Shakespeare was not the only genius who blossomed in isolation. In 1665, Sir Isaac Newton fled England’s capital city to avoid the Great Plague of London. While self-isolating in the countryside, he reflected on many scientific questions. He described lockdown as his annus mirabilis. This translates as “year of wonders.”
Newton finetuned his theory of optics during this period. Yet it was the apple tree outside his window that would be world-changing. One day, Newton watched an apple fall from its branches. At that moment, he enjoyed a crystal-clear moment of clarity. His theory of gravity was born.
Four centuries later, the world is now being transformed by another pandemic. The coronavirus has struck like a bolt out of the blue. We have all had to adapt to a new way of living while putting our former lives on hold.
Yet just as every cloud has a silver lining, a British man believes the virus might be a blessing in disguise.
Movie producer Tom Roberts has written a poem on Covid-19, which has since gone viral. The Great Realization explains how the world could be a better place in the wake of the pandemic.
Read to a young boy in a post-Coronavirus age, the poem begins by describing 2020 as a “world of waste and wonder.” It explains how we were living in a vicious cycle of consumption, greed, poverty, and pollution.
Roberts reveals how lockdown made us all realize what was important. He describes how we beat the virus and became a fairer and more sustainable society.
He explains that sometimes you need to get sick before you can get better.
Roberts said he wrote the poem because he believes in the power of positive thinking. He stressed, “I think if you believe in good coming out of something bad, then it probably will.”