All That Glitters is not Gold

All That Glitters is not Gold
This thought-provoking line occurs in the drama “The Merchant of Venice” written by Shakespeare.

It means that external brightness is not always a sure sign of inner excellence. A piece of iron or any other base metal, if plated with gold will give an illusion of gold. Simple persons may be deceived. Cheats have often passed gold-plated ornaments as real gold. An experienced and cautious jeweller would not be fooled for he would put it to test on the touchstone.

In an extended sense, appearances can be deceptive whether of metals or of situations or of human beings. The wearing of a gown would not make an idiot a professor, nor would he is able to pass off like a lawyer. His face would still betray his foolishness. Painting and powdering the may attract attention or notice, but it will not take long to find out the person is only wearing a ‘fancy dress’.

In the Ramayana we come across two examples that speak for this proverb. In one instance, Sita is deceived by the external appearance of the golden deer, which she later learns is actually a demon ‘Maaricha’ in disguise.

In another instance, Sita is misled by the outward appearance of Ravana who comes in the form of a saint.

In today’s world, showmanship is the order of the day; it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate a criminal from a gentleman. Obviously, the apparel does not always make the man known. But sadly man gives undue importance to externals. As a result even inferior products are marketed successfully thanks to the misleading appearances of the product.

Glossy magazines and newspapers very often are shallow [low] in content. A man who has speaks sweetly and has pleasing manners may be wicked and harmful. A well-dressed man may turn out to be a cheat.

Hence we should guard ourselves against deception [cheating] by appearances. We should be guided more by our minds than by our eyes.

We should carefully study the nature of men rather than hastily judge them by their outward appearances for as Shakespeare says in Hamlet, ‘ One may smile and smile and be a villain’.

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