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What Shakespeare Teaches About Statesmen and the Way They Lead

How is Shakespeare is still applicable to pop culture and what does his work teach our statesmen and community leaders?


Dr. Matthew Mehan, a teaching fellow at Hillsdale College, joined the Federalist Radio Hour today discuss how Shakespeare is still applicable to pop culture, the true meaning of liberal arts, and what Shakespeare can teach our statesmen and community leaders.

Shakespeare’s understanding of public leadership was very practical, and through characters like the Prince of Denmark, he demonstrates how leaders must be citizens first. “You actually need to go through the difficult work of rising in community with trust and growing in good faith and taking office,” Mehan said. “The willingness of leaders to actually suffer is a huge Shakespearean lesson.”

The trending darkness of American TV characters and story arcs are can be drawn from threads of Shakespeare’s cannon. From “The Dark Knight” to “Game of Thrones,” Shakespeare exploration of tragedy and anger remains influential.

Despite existing in one of the most open-minded, engaging and technologically advance eras, the American people are angrier than ever with our leaders. “Coming up with the artful, rhetorical way to lead people in stages, but not the kind of faux lead people in stages…but actually engaged with living people before they die…that requires real rhetorical imagination and real poetics,” Mehan said.

Listen here: