Source: The Washington Post
In the 1920s and 1930s, many Americans thought Joseph Stalin would reform the Soviet Union. The author of this opinion piece believes it’s wishful thinking to believe that dictators will modernize their countries in ways that move them toward democracy.
Source: Big Think
Shakespeare’s writing style can be challenging to read. Not only did he write four centuries ago, but he also played with language, coining new words, rearranging syntax, and using words as different parts of speech. Now, researchers have discovered that this last feature—using a noun like child as a verb instead, for example—excites the human brain because it is so unexpected.
Source: The Guardian
Macbeth is a play about the destructive effects of unchecked ambition. When is ambition a healthy motivating force, and when does it become an illness that drives people to harmful behavior?
Source: The Boston Globe
Read this article to learn about a professor who is trying to teach an artificial intelligence system to interpret stories by having it read Macbeth.
Source: Slate Magazine
In August 2018, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro survived an assassination attempt carried out by explosive drones. Some experts believe the incident will allow him to tighten the already powerful grip he has on his country.
Source: US News & World Report
Have elections, uprisings, and political protests across the globe led to a decline in authoritarian goverments in recent years? This article takes a look at worldwide trends and examines what happens when dictators are removed from power.
Source: The New York Times
In the years since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has rebuilt and improved its system for protecting against flooding. Will the city’s defenses hold up in the event of another powerful storm?
Source: Britain in Print
The Renaissance Italian writer Niccolò Machiavelli explored ideas about power in his still-controversial book The Prince. His work not only influenced political leaders, though; it also influenced the work of William Shakespeare a century later.
Source: The Austin Chronicle
Shakespeare and puppets may not seem like a natural combination, but this theater review makes the case that puppets are the perfect metaphor for the couple at the forefront of The Tragedy of Macbeth.
Source: The Borgen Project
See a round-up of some of the most Macbeth-like rulers of the 21st century.
Can a benevolent ruler successfully retain power? Or are readers hoping for the impossible when they wish Macbeth would be a truly good king?
Source: Shakespeare Theatre Company
The Scottish setting of Macbeth seems crucial—after all, it’s Scottish history—but numerous adaptations set around the globe have proved that the setting is far from essential.
Source: The Holinshed Project
Shakespeare’s source material, Holinshed’s Chronicles, appeared in two versions. Scholars from Oxford University have recently made side-by-side comparisons available online.
Source: The Atlantic
Imagine your classmates twenty years from now: Who will be happier—the friend who becomes a high-powered entrepreneur with a car to match, or the friend who chooses a modest lifestyle with time for friends and family? Learn why some people are more ambitious than others and whether ambition can make them happy.
Source: The Star (Malaysia)
Find out about some unexpected recent adaptations of Shakespeare’s works.
Scheming to increase power didn’t start with Macbeth and didn’t end with Nixon. Read about the latter’s career-ending crimes.
Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro continues to consolidate his power—in part by jailing those in the press and politics who oppose him.
Source: Folger Shakespeare Library
In this podcast, two Shakespeare scholars dig into why we still care about the characters and situations crafted by an Englishman who lived four centuries ago.
Source: The Economist
How did a 400-year-old English drama apply to the Arab Spring?
Source: The Washington Post
How can Shakespeare still be relevant in the age of the smartphone? Alexandra Petri takes a light-hearted view in this opinion piece.