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To be Trump, or not: what Shakespeare tells us about the last five years

To the author Jeffrey Wilson, the former president is Caesar, Lear, Bottom and more, all rolled into one

The time is out of joint. When lost for words, as many have been over the past five years, William Shakespeare is a useful go-to guy. His plays have helped us make sense of plague, political upheaval and a mad monarch, delivering soliloquies by tweet.

“While maintaining his career as the most-produced playwright in the world, he is also moonlighting as the most-cited provider of metaphors for the Trump era – and particularly its denouement,” Jesse Green, the chief theater critic of the New York Times, observed last month. “Hardly a thumb-sucking political analysis goes by without allusion to one of the 37 canonical plays, however limited or far-fetched the comparison may be.”

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