Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Musharraf as Coriolanus

General Musharraf of Pakistan is being compared to

This is not to the advantage of either Musharraf or Coriolanus.

General Musharraf’s epic journey reminds one of that of Coriolanus, a military and political leader of ancient Rome whose career is described by the Greek historian Plutarch in his Lives. Born Caius Marcius into a rich and famous family, he earned the title Coriolanus after a major victory at Corioli in 493 BC against the Volscians, a neighbouring tribe of Rome.

Around the year 1600, William Shakespeare drew upon Plutarch’s history to dramatise the life of Coriolanus. TS Eliot considered this play to be Shakespeare’s finest tragedy yet other critics rank it below Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and Othello. Coriolanus, as a proud general, is the least sympathetic protagonist among Shakespeare’s tragic figures. This may be the reason for the mixed appraisal of the play.

Much more can be said about both Pakistan and the writer’s understanding of Coriolanus than he says in the op ed for The Daily Times, yet it is still worth reading.

Discussions - 1 Comment

The bottom line about Musharraf is that he has been a strong, deeply courageous, and effective ally in the war on terror. God help us if Islamic extremists succeed in one of their attempts to assassinate him. A Pakistan ruled by them, or by people sympathetic to them, would be an utter disaster for the United States and for peace.

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