To her opponents Hillary Clinton is Lady Macbeth, raging within the corridors of the power, hoarding wealth, punishing her enemies, ever plotting to gain the throne, crying “Out, damned spot!” as she futilely tries to wipe the blood of Vince Foster from her wretched hands.
To her supporters she is Portia, plying her legal skills and declaiming about the “quality of mercy,” even as she mercilessly skewers the Wall Street money lender out to take his pound of flesh from the common man.
But the detail about Hillary Clinton that would surely have attracted Shakespeare’s attention is the sheer gob-smacking length of time she has been seeking the presidency. At least one college classmate predicted she would be the first female president, and it is as if she has spent the subsequent 47 years preparing herself for the role. Shakespeare might have thought Hamlet would make the ideal king if not for the unfortunate ending of that play, but before he wrote Hamlet he spent two plays detailing the preparations of a young price for his kingship, and they have much to say about the education of the presumptive Democratic nominee.
In the two parts of King Henry IV, Shakespeare details the education of the young Prince Harry, who would eventually become the revered Henry V. Prince Harry has two role models influencing his development. His father, King Henry IV, talks of duty and honor, even though he is really all about gaining and maintaining power, having usurped his throne by killing Richard II and then spending his entire reign fighting to maintain it, most notably at the battle of Shrewsbury. Read the rest