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drama literature Shakespeare

Toward a Theory of “Hamlet”: Six Theses

1.  It’s no accident that the Players arrive at Elsinore when they do.  Hamlet is just pretending to be surprised when Rosencrantz & Guildenstern  tell him of their arrival. He knows they’re coming, because it was he who had sent for them.  He’s been waiting for the players to arrive, so he can carry out […]

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drama literature politics Shakespeare

Bad Shakespeare, Bad Politics: The Case of the Central Park “Julius Caesar”

1. Unlike most of those who have felt the need to express an opinion of Oskar Eustis’s production of Julius Caesar at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, I’ve actually seen it. I attended a performance during the third of the three weeks of previews that preceded its formal one-week run — a couple of […]

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literature Shakespeare

Is Othello Insecure?

W.E.B. Du Bois coined the phrase ‘double consciousness’ to name the anxious self-doubt that is commonly suffered by those for whom social success or acceptance is barred by hostile race prejudices. “The facing of so vast a prejudice could not but bring the inevitable self-questioning, self-disparagement, and lowering of ideals which ever accompany repression and […]

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Arendt political theory politics

What might Arendt have to say about Trump?

A few people have been asking me my thoughts on the recent surge of interest in Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism, in relation to our present political crisis.  I’m working on writing something on the subject, but meanwhile – to air some rough ideas –  I offer the following snippet  of a conversation I had last week […]

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Arendt political theory politics quotations

Arendt: “The reality in which we live”

“Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest — forces that look like sheer insanity, if judged by the standards of other centuries. It is as though mankind had divided itself between those who […]