I had every intention of writing a piece this morning about revenge ghosts in Shakespeare’s plays, but the recent events in American politics cannot go unnoticed. As a woman I would be remiss if I did not comment on the latest news from the dumpster fire that is the Trump campaign.
The release of the “Trump Tapes” has made it clear that this man could “literally walk out onto 5th Avenue and shot someone, and not lose any voters”. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us should just sit back and let him. The view of his supporters that claim “men talk this way” sickens me. No, men do not talk this way. Even early 17th century misogynist( by today’s standards) playwrights did not talk this way!
Elizabethan theater is known for being extremely bawdy- a word that means vulgar, lewd, and crude. Yet if we look at Trump’s own words on women, we find that he takes the term to its lowest form; gutter speak. If Shakespeare had stooped this low we would most certainly not celebrate his work. If we did dare speak about him, we’d be talking about the low point in English theater.
I’ve heard several supporters on TV today saying that Trump’s words don’t matter, and what he said back then (for one of these quotes, back then was the last debate) has no bearing on what he does now. Bullshit. Words matter! We all know words are used to symbolize our thoughts and views. They are often stand-ins for our actions. Words express our desires, and in Trump’s case the words he uses symbolize his view of women as a whole and how he thinks they can and should be treated.
To prove it, I’ve taken five of Shakespeare’s characters and inserted some of Trump’s actual words about women. It is my hope that those who are trying to defend Trump by dismissing his words are taken aback when viewing them in this context. If you are sharing this with someone who is unfamiliar with Shakespeare’s plays I’ve italicized Trump’s words.
If Trump were a Shakespeare Character.
O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
Its seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth to dear!
I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. “
You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful
I just start kissing them.
It’s like a magnet.
I don’t even wait.”
Tell me, my daughters
Since now we divest us both of rule,
Interest in territory, cares of state,
Which you shall we say doth love us most?
If you weren’t my daughters, I’d probably try to date you.
What, my dear Lady Distain!
Are you yet living?
You’re a fat ugly pig
Everyone agrees with me.
I am determined to prove a villain
You know, it doesn’t really matter what [they] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.
Petruchio/Trump: Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting?
Katherine: In his tongue.
Petruchio/Trump: Whose tongue?
Katherine: Yours, if you talk of tales. And so farewell.
Petruchio/Trump: What, with my tongue in your tail? Nay, come again good Kate. I am a gentleman, though I could grab your pussy because I’m wealthy and women let me do it.
I would like to give credit where credit is due. My roommate and I were talking about Trump and Shakespeare this morning. We had both read different articles this on the very subject. I read Stephen Greenblatt’s Shakespeare Explains the 2016 Election while she read Aryeh Cohen-Wade’s Donald Trump Performs Shakespeare’s Soliloquies. I recommend both. After talking about the train-wreck of a human I decided to switch topics this morning and write this piece.
The Complete Shakespeare, Yale Unversity Press