Hum de dum. Not paying any attention to current events at all, just thinking about possibly teaching Richard III in my Shakespeare class this fall. Oh, look, Dwight Goodyear posted commentary on Agnes Heller’s book The Time is Out of Joint: Shakespeare as Philosopher of History. How interesting. You know, to those of us who care about Richard III.
Stage 1: The would-be tyrant must become an actor, a dissembler, who spreads lies, slanders others, and generates various conflicts between people in order to set the stage for evil plots and “inductions dangerous” (1.1.32). Obviously, Richard is always acting until he seizes the throne and reveals his evil nature (and even then he still acts a lot).
Stage 2: The would-be tyrant must make false promises to others—promises of wealth, land, peace, love, power, etc.—in order to start removing obstacles between himself and the throne.
Stage 3: The would-be tyrant then has to secure ways to make murder legitimate.
Stage 4: Power is established, the tyrant is revealed as a tyrant, and the multitude of voices is negated insofar as no one can speak in conditional statements: no IF this THEN that. To say ‘if’ to a tyrant is to question him and to assert some degree of autonomy against him. And this is something he will not accept.
Stage 5: With no conditional statements possible, there can be no room to think, question, communicate, and engage in any real form of solidarity. Everyone is isolated from everyone else; disintegration takes the place of unity. —Thoughts on Richard III: Stages of Tyranny