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Shakespeare's Politics

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  71 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Taking the classical view that the political shapes man's consciousness, Allan Bloom considers Shakespeare as a profoundly political Renaissance dramatist. He aims to recover Shakespeare's ideas and beliefs and to make his work once again a recognized source for the serious study of moral and political problems.

In essays looking at Julius Caesar, Othello, and The Merchant
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Paperback, 160 pages
Published December 1st 1996 by University of Chicago Press (first published 1964)
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Josh Craddock
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The most incisive series of essays I've ever read on Shakespeare. I will never read King Lear the same way after reading Jaffa's explanation of Scene I, Lear's plan, and the love test. These authors understand human nature, and have admirably refined and enlarged my understanding of Shakespeare's politics.
Matt McCormick
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some really interesting perspectives on Shakespeare's plays. I was particularly struck by Bloom's interpretation of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Bl0om, strikingly, begins section 4 with, "Julius Caesar is the story of how a man became a god". He goes on to explain how, in republican Rome, someone could strive to greatness in a somewhat balanced political environment between the senatorial class and the plebs. Once a noble was ready to disavowed his class and reached for power from the masses, th ...more
Nathan Albright
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge-2020
One of the joys of quarantine reading is getting in touch with classics that one has read a long time ago but not had the chance to read in recent years, and this book certainly qualifies on that front.  This book is a thoughtful work that is definitely enjoyable even if reading it provides some questions about the book and its approach that one did not always have going into it.  Allan Bloom is generally an enjoyable read and Harry Jaffa always is, and this book is a reminder of the struggle th ...more
Tom Stamper
Nov 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
While many study Shakespeare for literature or theatre, Bloom and Jaffa try to discover Shakespeare for political insights. The authors' study of The Merchant of Venice and Othello both give readers an understanding of an outsider's role in a community while Julius Caesar and King Learn demonstrate that political power at the top is more tenuous than it many times appears.

Othello is an accepted member of Venice and is even a hero of sorts, but co-existence isn't full citizenship argue Bloom and
...more
Brett Williams
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Bloom has insight into the deepest aspects of humanity. And once again Bloom inspires by penetrating our perpetual present with the permanent and universal. This time he performs that magic through analysis of Shakespeare’s plays, their political message, and Shakespeare’s grasp of what makes us who we are.

Shakespeare’s plays deal with fragile balances of humanity as individuals and as associations with their impossible reconciliations between competing concepts and ideals, which is what both a
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Ari
Jul 22, 2015 rated it liked it
The book is short and engaging. The basic premise is surely right, that we should be looking for what Shakespeare has to say about politics and society. He was writing in an intensely political milieu, and his audience included senior statesmen. Moreover, he was writing in an era where it was assumed that reflecting on society and politics was one of the highest purposes of poetry and drama.

Rather than an encyclopedic or comprehensive view of Shakespeare, this book examines just four works: The
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Shawn
May 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Bloom (Alan, not Harold) changed how I read the Merchant of Venice. Commerce transcends ethnic differences at a level. But music and romance offer transcendence of a different order. And the tacked-on legal drama that purports to fix everything is played for laughs. (As it should be!) And Shylock. Who knows how he played four hundred years ago. Today, to me, he exemplifies something truly remarkable about WS: Shylock is an absurd racial bogeyman melodrama villain. And yet he is heartbreakingly h ...more
R. Smith
Allan Bloom gives me a deeper understanding of the moral and political nature of Shakespeare's plays. For years I watched or read the plays for the entertainment value. After reading "Shakespeare's Politics" I watch or read them to understand the moral and political philosophy of Shakespeare. We all knew Shakespeare was a great writer and dramatist, but who knew he was also a great moral and political philosopher?

I find myself going back to this book and re-reading all or parts of it just to se
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Erik
Recommended by James Schall in Another Sort of Learning, Chapter 8, as one of Seven Books on the Limits of Politics.
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Allan David Bloom was an American philosopher, essayist and academic. Bloom championed the idea of 'Great Books' education, as did his mentor Leo Strauss. Bloom became famous for his criticism of contemporary American higher education, with his views being expressed in his bestselling 1987 book, The Closing of the American Mind.

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