Uneasy Lies the Head — Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power

John Stubbs reviews Stephen Grenblatt’s Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power

Cartoon depicting Donald Trump in Elizabethan costume, holding a book titled "Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power."The psychology and spectacle of villainy and the intoxicating nature of power clearly preoccupied Shakespeare. The grandeur, amoral freedom of action and sheer theatrical potential of tyrants must have moved and excited him. The case of a confirmed murderous dictator, after all, especially one with the charisma, merciless intelligence and twisted charm Shakespeare bestows on Richard III, gave unequalled scope for dramatic treatment of what unbridled, morally indifferent power might lead to. Such figures fascinated his contemporaries too. Monarchs aside, nobody commanded public attention, provoked fear or attracted censure like a prominent royal councillor or favourite, and those distant early moderns still captivate us today. e: John Stubbs – Uneasy Lies the Head