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Who would have thought Shakespeare would still be so contemporary? Well, a lot of people it turns out, but in the case of our modern political atmosphere Greenblatt helps us by doing most of the heavy lifting. In Tyrant, the author scours through Shakespeare's historically tyrannical characters in a way that illustrates the correlation between the past and our present without ever having to actually mention current political events. He lays out the groundwork and allows the reader to find their own way. And because of this his work will never go out of style.— Alex Bell
Examining the psyche--and psychoses--of the likes of Richard III, Macbeth, Lear, and Coriolanus, Greenblatt illuminates the ways in which William Shakespeare delved into the lust for absolute power and the disasters visited upon the societies over which these characters rule. Tyrant shows that Shakespeare's work remains vitally relevant today, not least in its probing of the unquenchable, narcissistic appetites of demagogues and the self-destructive willingness of collaborators who indulge them.