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Ralph Fiennes

No mercy in him: Reading Shakespeare's 'Coriolanus' in the age of Trump

No mercy in him: Reading Shakespeare's 'Coriolanus' in the age of Trump

One of the pleasures and marvels of reading Shakespeare now, 401 years after his death, comes from encountering a passage or even a line that resonates as if written today, as though to demonstrate his genius not only for looking inward at the human soul, but onward at the unfolding of human experience.

Take “Coriolanus,” which I opened for the first time a few days ago not because I expected anything in particular from it, but because in my New Oxford Shakespeare it happened to come right after one of my favorites, “Antony and Cleopatra.”

But then came the shock of recognition. “Coriolanus” opens with an insurrection of the Roman common people, the plebeians, against their...

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