James Shapiro

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Shake­speare on Pol­i­tics by Stephen Green­blatt. Nor­ton, 212 pp., $21.95

Shake­speare and the Re­sis­tance: The Earl of Southamp­ton, the Es­sex Re­bel­lion, and the Po­ems that Chal­lenged Tu­dor Tyranny by Clare Asquith.

PublicAf­fairs, 256 pp., $28.00

A month be­fore Don­ald Trump was elected, Stephen Green­blatt, in an ef­fort to ex­plain how “a great coun­try” could “wind up be­ing gov­erned by a so­ciopath,” pub­lished an Op-Ed in The New York Times in which he turned to Shake­speare for an an­swer.1 With­out ever nam­ing Trump, Green­blatt likened the Repub­li­can can­di­date’s “fath­om­less cyn­i­cism, cru­elty and treach­er­ous­ness” to that of Shake­speare’s Richard III, and anat­o­mized the “na­tion of en­ablers” that made pos­si­ble his rise to power.

Two years later, Green­blatt has pub­lished a book that builds on this ar­gu­ment. Trump is not named here ei­ther, though echoes of his tweets that now lit­ter our po­lit­i­cal land­scape—“make Eng­land great again,” “drain” the “swamp,” the “prospect of end­less win­ning”—never let us for­get the book’s tar­get.

It’s hard enough sus­tain­ing this sort of ar­gu­ment in a thou­sand-word OpEd; the de­gree of dif­fi­culty in do­ing so in a two-hun­dred-page book is ex­tra­or­di­nary and one of the most im­pres­sive things about Tyrant. While Richard III re­mains cen­tral, Green­blatt casts a wider net, con­flat­ing ac­tual tyrants with those who share their tyran­ni­cal traits, in­clud­ing the rab­ble-rous­ing Jack Cade of Henry VI, Part 2, Julius Cae­sar, Mac­beth, Lear, Co­ri­olanus, and Leontes, the ruler in The Win­ter’s Tale de­ranged by jeal­ousy. Green­blatt is es­pe­cially strong on Shake­speare’s in­sights into the pathol­ogy of tyrants, the self-in­ter­est and self-delu­sion of their sup­port­ers, and the courage of those brave enough to op­pose them. Trans­la­tions of Tyrant ought to cir­cu­late in Rus­sia, Turkey, North Korea, Saudi Ara­bia, and other coun­tries ruled by au­to­crats so ad­mired by Trump.

For those who be­lieve that literary stud­ies ought to be an agent of so­cial change, the elec­tion of Trump has been both a re­buke and a wake-up call. Tyrant, in re­spond­ing to this chal­lenge, marks a sharp de­par­ture from Green­blatt’s pre­vi­ous writ­ing. Those hop­ing for a re­turn to his New His­tori­cist ap­proach of the 1980s will be as dis­ap­pointed as those ex­pect­ing some­thing along the lines of his pop­u­lar and less po­lit­i­cally en­gaged Will in the World (2004) and The Swerve (2011). What he of­fers in­stead is a pow­er­ful coun­ter­punch, much like Oskar Eustis’s timely pro­duc­tion of Julius Cae­sar in Cen­tral Park in the sum­mer of 2017, which sim­i­larly wres­tled with how to re­spond to the threat of a tyran­ni­cal Trump.

But the vis­ceral plea­sures of so polem­i­cal a book come at a price. Some

1“Shake­speare Ex­plains the 2016 Elec­tion,” The New York Times, Oc­to­ber 8, 2016. of the con­nec­tions be­tween Trump and Shake­speare’s tyrants feel forced. And his­tor­i­cal set­ting and lin­guis­tic pre­ci­sion are on oc­ca­sion sac­ri­ficed to square what takes place in Shake­speare’s plays with what is hap­pen­ing to­day. This is es­pe­cially so in the five chap­ters (out of ten) that fo­cus on Shake­speare’s retelling of the War of the Roses. In these plays, Green­blatt writes, Shake­speare “in­vites us, in ef­fect, to watch the in­ven­tion of po­lit­i­cal par­ties and the trans­for­ma­tion of po­lit­i­cal ri­vals into po­lit­i­cal en­e­mies.” This is an orig­i­nal and provoca­tive in­sight—and the book is filled with oth­ers like it—but much hangs on that “in ef­fect,” a qual­i­fier that al­lows him the free­dom to speak anachro­nis­ti­cally of “elites,” of “party rage,” and of how “party war­fare cyn­i­cally makes use of class war­fare.”

The strain to make the world of these plays re­sem­ble our own feels most pro­nounced in Green­blatt’s ac­count of what he calls an “elec­tion scene” at the cen­ter of Richard III. I can un­der­stand its im­por­tance to his ar­gu­ment, and I’m aware that one of Shake­speare’s main sources, Sir Thomas More’s His­tory of King Richard III, speaks of Richard III’s “mock­ish elec­tion.” But the scene in ques­tion—in which a group of com­mon­ers is as­sem­bled to bless Richard’s power grab with an “Amen”—falls well short of one in which “vot­ers” choose their new leader. When Shake­speare stages an elec­tion, as he does else­where, he calls it one. Green­blatt should have con­ceded that at times he plays a bit fast and loose with Shake­spearean ex­am­ples, while mak­ing clearer that his method re­calls Shake­speare’s, whose his­tory plays look at Eng­land’s feu­dal past though a con­tem­po­rary po­lit­i­cal lens.

Green­blatt prefers to de­scribe rather than de­fine who is a tyrant, a strat­egy that, while ef­fec­tive, would not have sat­is­fied early mod­ern po­lit­i­cal the­o­rists, for whom such a def­i­ni­tion was both con­tested and con­se­quen­tial. Com­pli­cat­ing mat­ters, ac­cu­sa­tions of tyranny lodged against even the worst of­fend­ers could be chal­lenged. Richard III was de­fended by Shake­speare’s con­tem­po­rary Ge­orge Buc. Buc in­sisted that Richard III couldn’t have been a tyrant since he cut taxes, sup­ported re­li­gious lead­ers, and did many things for the pub­lic good. It was wrong, Buc added, to blame Richard for crimes that his as­so­ciates com­mit­ted or that took place be­fore he came to power; and what bad things he did after that, given his ab­so­lute au­thor­ity, couldn’t “prop­erly” be called “tyranny.”

Buc didn’t dare pub­lish his views dur­ing Queen El­iz­a­beth’s life­time, be­cause the man who over­threw Richard III and then wore his crown was the queen’s

grand­fa­ther. Buc’s de­fense in­vites the un­com­fort­able ques­tion of whether Shake­speare, in de­pict­ing Richard III as a tyrant who was jus­ti­fi­ably de­posed, du­ti­fully pro­moted the of­fi­cial ver­sion of the past, which has come to be called the “Tu­dor myth.” Green­blatt knows all this, but chooses not to en­gage coun­ternar­ra­tives like Buc’s or the trou­bling pos­si­bil­ity that Shake­speare might be seen as an en­abler. I raise this to un­der­score how vexed the is­sue of tyranny was for El­iz­a­bethans.

Some years ago, Robert Mi­ola pub­lished a land­mark es­say show­ing how Shake­speare drew on a long tra­di­tion that iden­ti­fied tyrants by how they ac­quired power as well as by how they abused it once in of­fice.2 Us­ing these cri­te­ria, Mi­ola ar­gued, Shake­speare set Julius Cae­sar on a ra­zor’s edge, al­low­ing a case to be made both for and against the view that Cae­sar was jus­ti­fi­ably as­sas­si­nated. These cri­te­ria came to mind when I read Green­blatt’s chap­ter on Co­ri­olanus. For Green­blatt, Co­ri­olanus is a tyrant who shares with other brutes in Shake­speare’s plays “a prone­ness to rage, a mer­ci­less pen­chant for bul­ly­ing,...a com­pul­sive de­sire to wield power over oth­ers.” He de­spises the wel­fare state and doesn’t care if poor peo­ple starve.

But he never de­sires or at­tains ab­so­lute po­lit­i­cal power. Be­cause of that, Green­blatt must re­di­rect our at­ten­tion

2Robert S. Mi­ola, “Julius Cae­sar and the Tyran­ni­cide De­bate,” Re­nais­sance Quar­terly, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Sum­mer 1985). to Co­ri­olanus’s pro­foundly an­tidemo­cratic con­vic­tions. When he stands for the of­fice of con­sul at the urg­ing of Rome’s pa­tri­cians and ap­peals to the com­mon­ers for their votes, the tri­bunes of the peo­ple cam­paign against his elec­tion, prep­ping Rome’s cit­i­zens to ac­cuse him of af­fect­ing “tyran­ni­cal power,” then pub­licly pro­vok­ing him. An en­raged Co­ri­olanus lets the peo­ple and their tri­bunes know how deeply he de­spises them. Here’s Green­blatt’s take on his out­burst:

It is not enough to re­strict pop­u­lar rep­re­sen­ta­tion—in ef­fect, to prac­tice the Ro­man equiv­a­lent of voter sup­pres­sion, in­tim­i­da­tion, re­dis­trict­ing, and the like. Co­ri­olanus pro­poses some­thing far more rad­i­cal. “Pluck out/The mul­ti­tudi­nous tongue,” he urges, “let them not lick/The sweet which is their poi­son.”... Es­sen­tially, he wants to tear up the Ro­man con­sti­tu­tion.

Not ex­actly. Co­ri­olanus’s Rome is a fledg­ling repub­lic, not a democ­racy, one much closer to the oli­garchic repub­lic in Re­nais­sance Venice that Shake­speare por­trays in Othello than to our mod­ern Amer­i­can repub­lic. At the out­set of the play, the Ro­mans had only re­cently ban­ished the Tar­quins, the last of the Ro­man kings (against whom the young Co­ri­olanus had fought). Co­ri­olanus wants to re­store the un­equal bal­ance of power that had been in place at the out­set of the play, be­fore grain ri­ots forced the pa­tri­cians to of­fer the com­mon­ers greater po­lit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the form of five new con­suls (the “mul­ti­tudi­nous tongue” that Co­ri­olanus be­lieves is de­vel­op­ing an in­sa­tiable taste for power). Far from wish­ing to tear up Rome’s con­sti­tu­tion, Co­ri­olanus be­lieves that he is restor­ing it and pre­vent­ing fac­tion­al­ism. Re­ac­tionary, au­thor­i­tar­ian, and an­tidemo­cratic? Yes. A tyrant? No.

It’s not easy de­cid­ing who is a tyrant. Viewed in a harsh light, even Pros­pero fits the de­scrip­tion. We learn in The Tem­pest that after his ex­ile from Mi­lan, Pros­pero ar­rives on an un­named is­land and wrests con­trol of it from Cal­iban, who help­lessly in­sists, “This is­land’s mine.” From Cal­iban’s per­spec­tive, Pros­pero’s tyranny is not in doubt: “I am sub­ject to a tyrant, a sor­cerer, that by his cun­ning hath cheated me of the is­land.” Pros­pero en­slaves Cal­iban and treats Ariel like an in­den­tured ser­vant. When Ariel dares to protest, Pros­pero warns him he will “rend an oak/And peg thee in his knotty en­trails till/Thou hast howled away twelve win­ters.” One of Pros­pero’s at­tack dogs—a dis­guised spirit that he sics on Cal­iban, Stephano, and Trin­culo, to “grind their joints/ With dry con­vul­sions” after their failed coup—is even named “Tyrant.” Pros­pero may get a free pass in Tyrant—it’s un­clear why—but Mac­beth, Lear, and other cruel rulers as­suredly do not, and Green­blatt’s tren­chant ac­count of their of­ten twisted psy­chol­ogy is con­sis­tently on tar­get, il­lu­mi­nat­ing both the plays and their mod­ern-day rel­e­vance.

The ex­plo­sion of in­ter­est in tyran­ni­cide in late-six­teenth-cen­tury Eu­rope

was a byprod­uct of the Re­for­ma­tion and Counter-Re­for­ma­tion, which had left both Catholics and Protes­tants look­ing to jus­tify the over­throw of rulers they con­sid­ered in­tol­er­ant and op­pres­sive. Green­blatt be­gins his book with an in­for­ma­tive sketch of the con­se­quences of this for Shake­speare and his au­di­ences. Pope Pius V had ex­com­mu­ni­cated El­iz­a­beth in 1570, and in 1588 Pope Six­tus V con­demned her for “ex­er­cysinge an ab­so­lute Tyran­nie.” She was now fair game for as­sas­sins.

The El­iz­a­bethan au­thor­i­ties, ner­vous about civic un­rest and plots against the monarch, re­quired that hom­i­lies at­tack­ing pa­pal “tyranny” and Rome’s “con­tin­ual stir­ring of sub­jects unto re­bel­lions against their sov­er­eign lords” be read in all English churches. One homily, “Against Disobedience and Will­ful Re­bel­lion,” con­cludes that if sub­jects suf­fered un­der an evil ruler, it was be­cause God was pun­ish­ing them for be­ing an evil peo­ple, and their de­sire to re­move an evil monarch only con­firmed their wicked­ness. The re­sult of all this was a cul­ture of self­cen­sor­ship, cau­tion, and evasion. In such fraught times, Green­blatt writes, “wari­ness and cir­cum­spec­tion” were called for, and Shake­speare, un­like many lead­ing play­wrights who fell afoul of the au­thor­i­ties—in­clud­ing Thomas Kyd, Christo­pher Marlowe, Ben Jon­son, and Ge­orge Chap­man— proved to be “a mas­ter of dis­place­ment and strate­gic in­di­rec­tion.”

Green­blatt finds only one sig­nif­i­cant in­stance when Shake­speare got care­less. In 1599, in the Cho­rus to Act 5 of Henry V, he al­luded to the Earl of Es­sex—“the Gen­eral of our gra­cious Em­press”—who was then lead­ing an English army to sup­press an Ir­ish up­ris­ing. The Cho­rus hopes for Es­sex’s vic­to­ri­ous re­turn, “with re­bel­lion broachèd on his sword.” Es­sex’s mil­i­tary cam­paign was un­suc­cess­ful, and not long after, hav­ing lost the queen’s fa­vor, he would at­tempt an in­ter­ven­tion at court, a botched ris­ing that was seen by the queen and his en­e­mies as a failed coup, on the eve of which his sup­port­ers paid Shake­speare’s com­pany to stage Richard II, a play about the suc­cess­ful de­pos­ing of a child­less English monarch by a more charis­matic leader. All this, Green­blatt writes, could “eas­ily have led to disas­ter” for Shake­speare, though for­tu­nately didn’t.


Shake­speare and the Re­sis­tance, Clare Asquith is also con­cerned with tyranny and po­lit­i­cal re­sis­tance, and the Earl of Es­sex is cen­tral to her story. But re­sem­blances be­tween the two books end there. In her pre­vi­ous book, Shad­ow­play: The Hid­den Be­liefs and Coded Pol­i­tics of Wil­liam Shake­speare (2005), Asquith ar­gued that Shake­speare was a Catholic writer who em­bed­ded se­cret mes­sages to the faith­ful in his plays, mis­sives that she painstak­ingly de­codes. The past decade has been an un­happy one for those who still main­tain that Shake­speare was Catholic, as the flimsy foun­da­tions on which this the­ory stood have largely col­lapsed. In her new book, even Asquith makes a tac­ti­cal re­treat, soft-ped­al­ing Shake­speare’s Catholic train­ing (so we no longer hear spec­u­la­tion that he spent his “Lost Years” at a dis­si­dent Ox­ford col­lege or in a Catholic sem­i­nary on the Con­ti­nent), though her Shake­speare re­mains as com­mit­ted as ever to the Catholic cause. Shake­speare and the Re­sis­tance fo­cuses on Shake­speare’s re­mark­able nar­ra­tive po­ems, Venus and Ado­nis, pub­lished in 1593, and The Rape of Lu­crece, which ap­peared the fol­low­ing year. Though un­der­val­ued to­day, they were reprinted far more of­ten than any of Shake­speare’s plays dur­ing his life­time. The for­mer is a re­work­ing of an erotic Ovid­ian se­duc­tion story; the lat­ter, a retelling of Lu­crece’s vi­o­lent rape by Tar­quin, son of Rome’s king. Both are com­plex and di­gres­sive works whose eth­i­cal and po­lit­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions are open to de­bate. So as not to

mis­rep­re­sent her ar­gu­ment, I’ll quote Asquith’s own sum­mary of it:

Venus and Ado­nis ex­plored the im­me­di­ate im­pact of the en­force­ment of con­science on El­iz­a­beth’s sub­jects to­wards the end of her reign: an en­force­ment which, as it turned out, was to be reim­posed even more rig­or­ously un­der James I. The Rape of Lu­crece broad­ened the fo­cus, trac­ing the re­li­gious pol­icy of her regime back to its ori­gin in the events of 1534, analysing the coun­try’s re­sponse, and urg­ing ac­tion to re­move an in­creas­ingly cor­rupt regime.

In ar­gu­ing for a po­lit­i­cally en­gaged Shake­speare who was a de­fender of Catholi­cism and a foe of tyran­ni­cal Protes­tant mon­archs, Asquith wa­vers be­tween pre­sent­ing him as a kind of dis­en­gaged sooth­sayer, one who fore­sees “the English malaise that would lead the coun­try into civil war,” and as a rad­i­cal strate­gist who con­dones vi­o­lence and trea­son (“in­va­sions in Shake­speare’s plays are pos­i­tive events”) and dis­penses “po­lit­i­cal ad­vice” that urges “the adop­tion of un­hesi­tat­ing, full­blooded, and de­ter­mined meth­ods of re­sis­tance.”

Her larger mis­sion in Shake­speare and the Re­sis­tance is to re­vise our un­der­stand­ing of El­iz­a­bethan his­tory. There is a grow­ing ac­knowl­edg­ment on the part of his­to­ri­ans that El­iz­a­beth’s regime was no Golden Age for many of its sub­jects, that English ties to the Catholic faith re­mained sur­pris­ingly strong dur­ing her reign, and that the Earl of Es­sex has been ma­ligned by schol­ars who were too quick to ac­cept the judg­ment of his en­e­mies. But Asquith blithely ig­nores ev­ery fact that might qual­ify or un­der­mine her claims. And be­cause she pros­e­cutes her case

so skill­fully, there’s no way for gen­eral read­ers to dis­tin­guish solid ar­gu­ments from fan­tas­tic ones. The re­sult is a skewed us-ver­sus-them ver­sion of his­tory, a story of vic­tim­hood and op­pres­sion, a Lost Cause nar­ra­tive.

One of Asquith’s fa­vorite rhetor­i­cal tricks is to in­vent a prob­lem where there isn’t one, then pro­vide the so­lu­tion. So, for ex­am­ple, she writes that “Lu­crece’s first ap­pear­ance is puz­zling if we ex­pect her to be a per­son­al­ity,” by which she means a per­son rather than an ab­strac­tion; Asquith ex­plains that Lu­crece only “be­comes a con­vinc­ing re­al­ity if we try read­ing the poem as though she were an­other Shake­spearean evo­ca­tion on the nu­mi­nous spirit of Eng­land,” a per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of “the soul of the coun­try.” Put more bluntly, Asquith is say­ing that gen­er­a­tions of read­ers have naively as­sumed that Shake­speare was writ­ing about a bru­tal sex­ual as­sault and failed to read the poem cor­rectly, as a po­lit­i­cal al­le­gory of “a na­tional rape.” She doesn’t even con­cede the pos­si­bil­ity that it could be both. At this point Asquith slips on her decoder ring and asks, “If Lu­crece rep­re­sents El­iz­a­beth’s Eng­land, then who is Tar­quin?” The an­swer is Henry VIII, whose ran­sack­ing of Eng­land’s monas­ter­ies sixty years ear­lier con­sti­tutes the poem’s real “tragic sce­nario.” Other de­tails neatly fall into place. The red and white of Lu­crece’s face? Color-coded sym­bols of the old faith and the white­wash­ing re­formed one. The tug-of-war over Lu­crece’s dead body be­tween her fa­ther and hus­band? Place­hold­ers for com­pet­ing Catholic and Protes­tant claims “to Eng­land’s dy­ing spir­i­tu­al­ity.”

The day after her rape, when the shat­tered Lu­crece sum­mons the courage to iden­tify her rapist in pub­lic be­fore stab­bing her­self to death, she has dif­fi­culty ut­ter­ing his name: “‘He, he,’ she says/But more than ‘he’ her poor tongue could not speak.” Lu­crece is clearly trau­ma­tized, and nam­ing her rapist, who is also her kins­man, isn’t easy for her to do. But Asquith chooses to in­ter­pret the lines dif­fer­ently: for her, Lu­crece’s in­abil­ity to name Tar­quin is con­fir­ma­tion that “Shake­speare en­cour­ages us to sub­sti­tute some­thing or some­one else for the per­pe­tra­tor of the rape.” And when at the end of the poem there is a call to re­tal­i­ate for this “foul Act,” Asquith no less ten­den­tiously main­tains that the act in ques­tion is not the sex­ual as­sault that led Lu­crece to kill her­self but rather Henry VIII’s anti-Catholic “Act of Supremacy.” Ev­ery­thing means some­thing else.

Asquith reads Venus and Ado­nis not as a soft-core Ovid­ian riff but rather as an al­le­gory of “a young man pin­ioned by a dom­i­nant queen,” through which Shake­speare sent a coded warn­ing to those op­pos­ing a tyran­ni­cal El­iz­a­beth, in­clud­ing the Earl of Southamp­ton and the Earl of Es­sex, that “death awaits those who al­low them­selves to be di­verted, de­layed, and fi­nally over­come.” She takes se­ri­ously the pos­si­bil­ity that aris­to­crats dropped by to tell Shake­speare what to write: “Did Es­sex him­self, at­tracted by the suavely op­po­si­tional stance of Venus and Ado­nis, have a hand in sug­gest­ing or de­vis­ing the ‘graver mat­ter’ of The Rape of Lu­crece?” When she adds that the “change in tone be­tween the two po­ems...may re­flect the char­ac­ter of his new com­mis­sion,” it is no longer a ques­tion.

Asquith links the coded po­lit­i­cal mes­sages that Shake­speare in­serted into his nar­ra­tive po­ems of 1593–1594 to Es­sex’s failed ris­ing in 1601. For her (and for her Shake­speare), Es­sex was the last hope of Eng­land’s Catholics, some­one who of­fered “a re­lease from the re­li­gious in­tol­er­ance that had for the past sixty years been the hall­mark of Tu­dor Eng­land.” She must as­sume that read­ers won’t know much about Es­sex—a mil­i­tant Protes­tant who spent much of his adult life fight­ing Catholics on land and at sea—so will take on faith her as­sur­ance that he was at heart an “ec­u­menist” and a pro­moter of “re­li­gious tol­er­a­tion.” The fail­ure of Es­sex’s ris­ing, she con­cludes, left Shake­speare dis­il­lu­sioned, and the plays that fol­lowed re­flect his dis­ap­point­ment and sense of fail­ure: “Hope of re­dress, of con­certed re­sis­tance, of a na­tional change of di­rec­tion...died when Es­sex went to the block.”

Be­fore tak­ing her own life, Lu­crece calls upon the men of Rome to avenge her rape. But that’s not what fol­lows. Lu­crece ends in­stead with Ju­nius Bru­tus—who un­til this mo­ment masked his

fierce re­sis­tance to tyran­ni­cal rule— per­suad­ing his fel­low Ro­mans to take up Lu­crece’s bloody corpse and bear it through the streets of the city. For him, Lu­crece is less a per­son than a prop, a text that will “pub­lish Tar­quin’s foul of­fence.” He suc­ceeds in his rev­o­lu­tion­ary aims, for we learn that upon see­ing Lu­crece’s body pa­raded in this way, the cit­i­zens of Rome “plau­si­bly did give con­sent/To Tar­quins ev­er­last­ing ban­ish­ment.” Dur­ing a class dis­cus­sion of this pas­sage a few years ago, one of my un­der­grad­u­ates re­sponded with out­rage; she ar­gued with­er­ingly that what Ju­nius Bru­tus does here—us­ing the body of a woman for his own ends—is not all that dif­fer­ent from what Tar­quin had done to Lu­crece. Read­ing Asquith’s book brought me back to that sober­ing class­room mo­ment, a re­minder of the chal­lenges in­volved when ap­pro­pri­at­ing some­body else’s story. It is one thing to iden­tify tyrants, an­other to end their tyran­ni­cal rule. Green­blatt’s ac­count of how Paulina speaks truth to power in The Win­ter’s Tale, help­ing Leontes rec­og­nize and re­pent his crim­i­nal be­hav­ior, of­fers one way for­ward, but I don’t ex­pect Ivanka to play that role any­time soon, and un­like Paulina, we can’t wait six­teen years for that re­morse to sink in fully. As Shake­speare made clear in Julius Cae­sar, if you are go­ing to re­move a tyrant, you’d bet­ter have a good plan.

Lau­rence Olivier in Richard III, 1956

Tintoretto: Tar­quin and Lu­cre­tia, 1570–1590

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