Chapter 2: Liars and swearers: Shakespeares Macbeth and the dissemblance of modern autocrats
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From undermining agencies to disseminating misinformation, many twenty-first century politicians subvert the principles of the offices they hold and cause suffering for many subjected to their policies. This may evoke an Orwellian dystopia, but are these duplicitous maneuvers unique to the contemporary moment? Far from a new phenomenon, political corruption has always been with us, and Shakespeare shows how such subversion is rooted in language. His plays portray how dissembling, systemic oppression and injustice threaten to enfeeble and abrade the security of kingdoms. Of singular note regarding civic dilapidation is Shakespeare’s Macbeth, in which the perversion of language at the heart of tyranny and mass terror reveals a kingdom so paranoid that it fears the necessity of sleep. This essay explores Shakespeare’s play by linking its concern with language to contemporary politics.

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