Shakespeare's Clout

Political Capital and Renaissance Drama


The Bard on Bainbridge
March 20 2005


Steven Marx

Professor of English
Cal Poly University
San Luis Obispo California


Like the Bible, the work of William Shakespeare is often appropriated to serve local political and economic ends.

This presentation considers some recent high profile examples, including honorific and disparaging analogies between George W. Bush and Henry the Fifth.

These current uses are examined in light of Shakespeare's overall consideration of human behavior in the political arena and some controversies of his own time.


Related materials:

Shakespeare's Henry V and Troilus and Cressida

Henry V, the film directed by Kenneth Branagh

Steven Marx, "Holy War in Henry V"

Steven Marx, "Shakespeare's Pacifism"



Movers and Shakespeares

Mackubin T. Owens, "Shakespeare Was No Pacifist" November 2002

Bob Thompson, "The King and We: Henry Fifth's War Cabinet" Washington Post May 2004

Nicolas Kristof, "Crowning King George" NY Times September 2004

Pieter Brueghel, "War of the Moneybags and Treasure Chests

Joseph R. Stromberg, "Shakespeare, War, and Peace"

Scott Newstrom, "George W as Henry V?"