Thursday, 8 March 2012

Objective Proficiency p 160. Shakespeare Speaks: a Fool’s Paradise . Extra Listening


BBC Website

A fool's paradise

These days, the phrase a fool's paradise describes any situation that somebody thinks is good, without realising that it won't last – or that it's actually bad.

Example sentence
Jack's work is terrible. He's living in a fool's paradise if he thinks he's getting a pay rise.
The euro: Good bet or a fool's paradise? (BBC News headline, written when the value of the single European currency fell to record lows – making it cheap to buy for investors, but not particularly safe)
The phrase a fool's paradise is often used with the verb live in the appropriate form:
  • He's living in a fool's paradise
  • She lived in a fool's paradise 
  • She needs to stop living in a fool’s paradise
  • Do you have any friends who are living in a fool's paradise
We can also use the phrase a fool’s paradise with the verb be:
  • It's a fool's paradise
  • Her happiness was a fool's paradise

Romeo and Juliet, the star-cross'd lovers
William Shakespeare's tale of the star-crossed lovers continues to have a powerful effect on audiences and the main story of forbidden love is still relevant today. Young people all over the world can relate to parents becoming involved in their love lives - not normally with such dramatic results fortunately!

star-crossed lovers
very unlucky lovers

a fool
a silly person

fool someone

trick or deceive someone

have your way with someone

have sex with someone

do right by someone

treat someone well and fairly. E.g. do you think Robert will do right by Janet?

Expressions for talking about reality and fantasy. 

Useful phrases to describe people with unrealistic - and realistic - plans and ideas.
Do you know the difference between reality and fantasy?

come back to earth (with a bump)
to accept reality again after a pleasant experience or a hopeful dream. E.g. Do you think poor Janet will come back to earth with a bump?

to have your head in the clouds
to be unaware of what is happening around you in the real world

a wishful thinker

a person who has hopes and plans that are unlikely to happen in reality

living in a dream world

having ideas or hopes which are not practical and are not likely to be successful

a pipe dream

a hope which is impossible to achieve or not realistic


sensible and realistic

someone who has the ability to think clearly and realistically and makes good decisions

to have your feet on the ground

to be sensible, practical and realistic

clutch/grasp at straws
to try all possible means to find a solution or some hope in a difficult or unpleasant situation, even though this seems very unlikely. E.g. I know I’m just clutching at straws here, but is it possible that the doctors are wrong?

We'd like you to tell us about how realistic you think you are. Have you ever lived in a fool's paradise? Or have you had a pipe dream or done some wishful thinking in the past? What happened to bring you back down to earth?  

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