"Step aside, I'll show thee a president":
Is George W Really Shakespeare's Henry V?

Scott Newstrom

Political commentators have been claiming Dubya as a modern-day Prince Hal since the 1990s, eager to ascribe a kingly divine right to a ruler who, from his assumption of the throne to his current crusade, lacks justification. With the invasion of Iraq, they're invoking Shakespeare again, whether in praise or in criticism. O for a muse of fire!

Illustration by Taylor Jones for the Hoover Digest
Please note: This essay has been revised for publication online at poppolitics.com and AlterNet.

Citations of the essay include the SHAKSPER list-serv; the World Shakespeare Bibliography; the Chronicle of Higher Education's Arts & Letters Daily; WGN Radio 720; Peace Passion; Media Dragon; BuzzFlash; and the History News Network.

Scott Newstrom teaches English at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Thanks are due to the dozens of friends and colleagues who have commented upon and contributed to this essay.

Page created February 15, 2003