Tyrant by Stephen Greenblatt

Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics by Stephen Greenblatt

"Calling all English Majors: This is your Anti-Trump Book.  Writing in his usual thought provoking, entertaining, and readable style, Greenblatt Brakes down several of Shakespeare's tyrants, examining what makes them tick, how they rose to power, and what can be done about them.  Without ever mentioning trump or any other specific people he manages a scathing take down of modern Washington, particularly those complicit in allowing a tyrant's rise to power.  Absolutely fascinating! "  - Recommended by Wayne

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Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics By Stephen Greenblatt Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393635751
Availability: Special Order
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 8th, 2018

As an aging, tenacious Elizabeth I clung to power, a talented playwright probed the social causes, the psychological roots, and the twisted consequences of tyranny. In exploring the psyche (and psychoses) of the likes of Richard III, Macbeth, Lear, Coriolanus, and the societies they rule over, Stephen Greenblatt illuminates the ways in which William Shakespeare delved into the lust for absolute power and the catastrophic consequences of its execution.


Cherished institutions seem fragile, political classes are in disarray, economic misery fuels populist anger, people knowingly accept being lied to, partisan rancor dominates, spectacular indecency rules--these aspects of a society in crisis fascinated Shakespeare and shaped some of his most memorable plays. With uncanny insight, he shone a spotlight on the infantile psychology and unquenchable narcissistic appetites of demagogues--and the cynicism and opportunism of the various enablers and hangers-on who surround them--and imagined how they might be stopped. As Greenblatt shows, Shakespeare's work, in this as in so many other ways, remains vitally relevant today.