A Thousand Times More Fair: What Shakespeare's Plays Teach Us About Justice
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A Thousand Times More Fair: What Shakespeare's Plays Teach Us About Justice

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  51 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Celebrated legal scholar Kenji Yoshino's first book, Covering, was acclaimed—from the New York Times Book Review to O, The Oprah Magazine to the American Lawyer—for its elegant prose, its good humor, and its brilliant insights into civil rights and discrimination law. Now, in A Thousand Times More Fair, Yoshino turns his attention to the question of what makes a fair and j...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Ecco (first published April 12th 2011)
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The Book : An Online Review at The New Republic
THE LAW PLAYS an unacknowledged role in much of Shakespeare’s work. Trials—real trials, quasi-trials, mock trials—recur. In many plays, characters refer to contemporary laws and legal institutions; and the plays raise larger questions about justice and the workings of the law. Lawyers, then, can help to illuminate Shakespeare’s plays, and many have done so by explaining the early modern legal background and Shakespeare’s exploitation of persistent legal puzzles for dramatic purposes.Read more...
Abby
Whether you are or are not a lawyer and whether you do or don't know a lot about Shakespeare's plays, Yoshino's book provides insights to both areas. In addition to providing a great deal of information about the several plays he discusses, each selected for a different legal topic, he explores not only how the state of the law and the judicial processes at the relevant times influenced what Shakespeare wrote and the perspective from which he wrote it, but also brings the discussions to bear on...more
Shanrina
I enjoyed this on several levels. As a Shakespeare fan, I liked seeing an analysis of a different type than I usually see for, say, Hamlet and Othello. Yoshino also did a good job of explaining the events of plays that I hadn't read clearly enough for me to follow his line of thought, but not spoiling them to the extent that I had no interest in reading them anymore. As a writer, it also gave me another dimension to think about when writing my own stories.
Roy Kenagy
Nov 02, 2011 Roy Kenagy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Author's web site: http://bit.ly/vCh0B2

"...Why is the rule of law better than revenge? How much mercy should we show a wrongdoer? What does it mean to "prove" guilt or innocence? As Yoshino argues, a searching examination of Shakespeare's plays–and the many advocates, judges, criminals, and vigilantes who populate them–can elucidate some of the most troubling issues in contemporary life."
Josiah
Fun read, seemed more Shakespeare analysis than law. I can see why the class would be popular. I'm convinced Shakespeare's works demonstrate a good eye for people and it is of course from people that law comes, though I don't know it goes much beyond that.
Seth
I thought Yoshino's Covering was brilliant, providing legitimately fresh insight into civil rights jurisprudence and society. A Thousand Times More Fair confirmed that Yoshino is brilliant and was interesting but not terribly groundbreaking.
Carmen



Kenji Yoshino's look into Shakespeare's plays reveals the many ways justice was served from Roman times up to the XVII century.

Thoughtful and entertaining. Controversial and enlightening. Do not miss.
Carlee
The book started off interesting but then kind of got boring.
Alyssa Archambo
This is by far one of the best analyses of Shakespeare's works that I have ever read. While I have heard many critics applauding Shakespeare's thorough knowledge of the law, I have never read anything that actually goes through his works and analyzes the uses of trials, judging, and ruling. Instead of looking at Shakespeare through the lenses of deconstruction, gender, new criticism, new historicism, etc., Yoshino uses the lens of law and justice. Each chapter focuses on a certain aspect of law,...more
Marsha
Mr. Yoshino was once an English major but decided to pursue law. He found that the two aren’t necessarily incompatible. Using Shakespeare’s plays as his sources, he outlines the connections between various aspects of the law as practiced by the characters in the Bard’s works and how they reflect on modern society. The man reveals his deep love of Shakespeare, his thorough understanding of literature and a firm grounding in the legal system, both past and present. Far from being too dry, “A Thous...more
Marsha
Mr. Yoshino was once an English major but decided to pursue law. He found that the two aren’t necessarily incompatible. Using Shakespeare’s plays as his sources, he outlines the connections between various aspects of the law as practiced by the characters in the Bard’s works and how they reflect on modern society. The man reveals his deep love of Shakespeare, his thorough understanding of literature and a firm grounding in the legal system, both past and present.

Far from being too dry, “A Thousa...more
Martin Geiger
I liked several things about Yoshino's book, though ultimately I found the chapter per play approach to be a bit disjointed, and somewhat uneven. In general, I found his chapters about lesser known plays to be more vivid in their connections to contemporary legal questions, and more surprising in their analyses of the plays. While his chapters on the big tragedies seem too general in the lessons they draw, though that's an understandable problem when writing about Hamlet. In contrast, several of...more
Kristi Thielen
It has been 20 years since I put a book down, unfinished, but that is exactly what I did with "A Thousand Times More Fair".

The premise is excellent and Shakespeare is a fitting prism through which to view the law. My complaint is about the Harvard-educated author's complete lack of understanding of the lex talionis and the fact that it is a statement about the punishment fitting the crime, not a statement about revenge.

Mr. Yoshino's belief that Christianity trumps Jewish law at all times and i...more
Mary
Though I did not agree with everything the author said, it did change my view on some of the plays and the characters.
Cynthia
I wish there were more books like this one! Intelligently written, but still easy to read. Complicated ideas, but presented in such a down-to-earth fashion that even a simpleton like me could easily inderstand them. Most books about Shakespeare's works are a bore, but this was both entertaining and insightful. He relates each play to a well known current legal situation, such as the war in Iraq or the O.J. Simpson trial. This is definitely one of the best books to focus on a specific theme in Sh...more
Mattie
Thoughtful yet brief exploration of different aspects of the notion of "justice" as presented in a number of Shakespeare's plays. Each chapter centers on a play and a particular concept, with a more or less current real life situation in which the same concept can been seen at play. He has some out of the ordinary takes (he's up front about this) on some of the plays, which is cool. Quick reading, law nerdly fun.
Vasha7
A charming exploration of Shakespeare's plays from the point of view of law and justice. Though the book is short on specific applications to today's events (which is not a fault in the book itself but rather in its marketing), Yoshino finds much to say on more general themes, and full of an appealing skepticism and passion and real moral thought.
Sean
Great read. lots of fun, some of the middle chapters are less solid than the beginning and ending chapters. Yoshino on the whole does a nice job of weaving Shakespeare and modern law together as a call to recognize our own faults to become more a more beautiful and just.
Maxe Meshmore
This book feels like a bad lit dissertation (with little depth and a mechanical methodology) but I can't stop reading it. very weird-sometimes-amusing to watch a lawyer trying cavalier literary analysis.
honey
Interesting read. I feel you have to be familiar with Shakespeare's work to fully enjoy this book.

Only three stars cause it seems to be more of an analysis of Shakespeare's plays than law.
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