Is Donald Trump Richard III reincarnated?

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I took this image of ‘Richard’ at the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival in 2013.

“I am unfit for state and majesty”

Why do we still study Shakespeare 400 years after his death?

Our year 12 stint on Richard III is now beginning to wane – we start Act 5 next week, and will essentially be done by the end of the Autumn Term on 16 December.  Then I’ll sadly take a break from teaching Shakespeare until after Easter, when I’ll be looking at Much Ado About Nothing (year 8), probably Hamlet or Julius Caesar (year 9), and Macbeth (year 10).  My only ‘early modern’ fix in the Spring term is Marlowe’s Edward II.  Happy Days.

As the year 12 course has unfolded, keeping pace with the final stages of the US elections, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to leave the next leader of the free world out of our discussions.  With one difference:  I grudgingly admire one of these larger-than-life characters, and have nothing but contempt for the other …

So, I’ve decided to excise this particular mote, lance the festering boil, by producing a little summary of quotations from the play that either of these villains could have said:  The Donald Trump Playbook.  If I’ve missed any, I’d love to know!

Rare moments of lucidity:

“Yet so much is my poverty of spirit, 
So mighty and so many my defects, 
As I had rather hide me from my greatness”

“I am unfit for state and majesty”

“I rather hate myself 
For hateful deeds committed by myself! 
I am a villain”

“There is no creature loves me; 
And if I die, no soul shall pity me”

Lucidity on Hilary Clinton and the election result:

“Without her, follows to this land and me, 
To thee, herself, and many a Christian soul, 
Death, desolation, ruin and decay”

On ‘wooing’ women:

“What though I kill’d her husband and her father? 
The readiest way to make the wench amends 
Is to become her husband and her father”

“Was ever woman in this humour woo’d? 
Was ever woman in this humour won?”

“Moreover, urge his hateful luxury 
And bestial appetite in change of lust; 
Which stretched to their servants, daughters, wives, 
Even where his lustful eye or savage heart, 
Without control, listed to make his prey.”

“Let not the heavens hear these tell-tale women”

On unattractive women:

“Foul wrinkled witch, what makest thou in my sight?”

“Have done thy charm, thou hateful wither’d hag!”

On misogyny, generally:

“I’ll have her, but I will not keep her long.”

“Why, this it is, when men are ruled by women”

“Relenting fool, and shallow, changing woman!”

On the poorly educated:

“I will converse with iron-witted fools 
And unrespective boys: none are for me 
That look into me with considerate eyes”

On truth, and ‘post-truth’:

“Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous, 
By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams, 
To set my brother Clarence and the king”

“Say that I slew them not?”

“The secret mischiefs that I set abroach 
I lay unto the grievous charge of others.”

“Infer the bastardy of Edward’s children”

“[He striketh him] 
Take that, until thou bring me better news.”

On recruiting a team of advisors:

“Since every Jack became a gentleman 
There’s many a gentle person made a Jack”

” … the nobility 
Held in contempt; whilst many fair promotions 
Are daily given to ennoble those 
That scarce, some two days since, were worth a noble.”

On ignorance of foreign policy:

“What news abroad?”

On race relations:

“What, think You we are Turks or infidels?”

“Remember whom you are to cope withal; 
A sort of vagabonds, rascals, and runaways, 
A scum of Bretons, and base lackey peasants, 
Whom their o’er-cloyed country vomits forth 
To desperate ventures and assured destruction”

“If we be conquer’d, let men conquer us, 
And not these bastard Bretons; whom our fathers 
Have in their own land beaten, bobb’d, and thump’d”

On ‘The Apprentice’

“Let me put in your minds, if you forget, 
What you have been ere now, and what you are;
Withal, what I have been, and what I am.”

Further, on a ‘questionable’ past:

“if black scandal or foul-faced reproach 
Attend the sequel of your imposition,
Your mere enforcement shall acquittance me 
From all the impure blots and stains thereof”

On his personal appearance:

“I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks, 
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass; 
I, that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majesty 
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph”

On speaking his mind:

“I never sued to friend nor enemy; 
My tongue could never learn sweet smoothing word”

“Cannot a plain man live and think no harm, 
But thus his simple truth must be abused 
By silken, sly, insinuating Jacks?”

2 thoughts on “Is Donald Trump Richard III reincarnated?”

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