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Arts, Theater & Film

Shakespeare On Politics

Detail of an illustrated posture with a man as Macbeth.
Public Domain / Library of Congress
Thos. W. Keene. Macbeth (1884)

Tuesday, scholar Stephen Greenblatt joins us to talk about Shakespeare's tyrants. In many of his tragedies, he grappled with this question: why would anyone be drawn to a leader unsuited to govern?

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Tuesday, scholar Stephen Greenblatt joins us to talk about the catastrophic leaders that populate the pages of Shakespeare’s work. Of course, the Bard had to be very careful about the critiques he levied against Queen Elizabeth and her court, so he used historic and mythic rulers like Richard III, Macbeth, and Lear to explore how dangerous demagogues come to power. We’ll discuss the lessons in his tragedies, and why Greenblatt says Shakespeare believed tyrants would ultimately fail.

Stephen Greenblatt is the Cogan University Professor of Humanities at Harvard University. His latest book is called Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics [Indie bookstores|Amazon|Audible]

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