Tyrant: Shakespeare On Power (Paperback)
  • Tyrant: Shakespeare On Power (Paperback)

Tyrant: Shakespeare On Power (Paperback)

Paperback 224 Pages
Published: 23/05/2019
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Waterstones Says

With populists storming to power across Europe, what better time could there be to analyse the nature of demagoguery through Shakespeare’s tyrants and dictators? By masterfully marshalling the words that the Bard put into the mouths of Caesar, Richard III, Macbeth and many others, Stephen Greenblatt brilliantly highlights Shakespeare’s continuing relevance and insight. 

 How does a truly disastrous leader - a sociopath, a demagogue, a tyrant - come to power? This vivid and accessible analysis of Shakespeare's most enduring works sheds light on one of our most urgent contemporary dilemmas.

As an ageing, tenacious Elizabeth I clung to power, a talented playwright probed the social and psychological roots and the twisted consequences of tyranny. What he discovered in his characters remains remarkably relevant today. With uncanny insight, he shone a spotlight on the infantile psychology and unquenchable narcissistic appetites of demagogues and imagined how they might be stopped.

In Tyrant, Stephen Greenblatt examines the themes of power and tyranny in some of Shakespeare's most famous plays - from the dominating figures of Richard III, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Coriolanus to the subtle tyranny found in Measure for Measure and The Winter's Tale. Tyrant is a highly relevant exploration of Shakespeare's work that sheds new light on the workings of power.

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781784707606
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 159 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 14 mm


In this brilliant, beautifully organized, exceedingly readable study of Shakespeare’s tyrants and their tyrannies—their dreadful narcissistic follies, their usurpations and their craziness and their cruelties, their arrogant incompetence, their paranoid viciousness, their falsehoods and their flattery hunger—Stephen Greenblatt manages to elucidate obliquely our own desperate (in Shakespeare’s words) “general woe”. - PHILIP ROTH

Brilliant, timely - MARGARET ATWOOD, on Twitter

A scintillating book, uncannily illuminating about current politics, as perceptive about the victims of tyranny as it is about the tyrants themselves. - Nicholas Hytner, former Artistic Director of the Royal National Theatre

Brisk and highly readable - Jonathan Bate, New Statesman

Brilliant - Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

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“"I am myself alone."”

This is a really enjoyable read. Greenblatt draws some delightful parallels between Shakespeare's villains and one world leader in particular, which is enormously entertaining, and Greenblatt does a remarkable... More

Hardback edition
4 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 35

“A Fantastic Contribution to Shakespeare studies”

Greenblatt is a fine writer and academic, with clear thought and insight backed up by his enviable knowledge of Shakespeare's life and work. He also paints a picture of Shakespeare's world, with politics,... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 33

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