Shakespeare’s Richards

In the spring edition of City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple analyzes William Shakespeare’s plays about the two King Richards.

The two plays offer a contrast between different political pathologies: that of ambitious malignity and that of arrogant entitlement, both with disastrous results, and neither completely unknown in our time. They share one rather surprising thing in common, however: before reaching the throne, both usurpers—Richard III, when still Duke of Gloucester; and Henry IV, when still Duke of Hereford—felt obliged to solicit the good opinion of the common people.

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