Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Shakespeare for Presidents

From New York Times a mere preface to the wonder behind it all. I would also add,

No matter where; of comfort no man speak:
Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;
Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth,
Let’s choose executors and talk of wills:
And yet not so, for what can we bequeath
Save our deposed bodies to the ground?....
For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
How some have been deposed; some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poison’d by their wives: some sleeping kill’d;
All murder’d: for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,....

Maybe Flannery will make something of it.

Discussions - 3 Comments

"Millard Fillmore read Shakespeare to factory workers in his native Buffalo Epart of his effort to encourage working-class literacy." We could use that today, from our teachers and civic activists.

The relationship between Shakespeare and what we consider to be rousing or effective political oratory is much deeper than the Times piece gets into.

If you look closely at some of Reagan's or Obama's best speeches, you can see the same moves, for example, as are found in Henry V's iconic Harfluer speech, or the more famous "Band of Brothers" speech... acknowledging (or even inflating) the hardships, invoking nationalism and greater unity, and mythologizing the event even as it is happening.

Our most effective politicians tend to find their literary roots in Prince Hal... the least, in Richard II? I don't know.

Please type that "h" in Sakespeare! Dropping the letter just seems wrong.

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field
 

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL: http://nlt.ashbrook.org/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/13850