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What Shakespeare teaches us about tyrants

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'Tyrant' by Stephen Greenblatt
'Tyrant' by Stephen Greenblatt
Courtesy of publisher

 Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke with Chris Upton from A Freethinker's Corner in Dover, N.H.

Shakespeare wrote some of the most dastardly villains in literature, and a new book from scholar Stephen Greenblatt explores that dark side.

Bookseller Chris Upton recommends Greenblatt's "Tyrant," which "explains the psychology of tyrants, how they came to be, and the psychology behind despots and authoritarians and dictators."

Greenblatt delves into the hidden — or, not so hidden — messages of Shakespeare's malevolent characters. "Shakespeare and Shakespeare's contemporaries would use historical characters, historical people or events or places to get around the laws of the time" that forbid them from criticizing the ruling class or those in power.

The book is a timely read for a reflection on politics and powers, Upton explained.

Tyrant  Tyrant