The Choice: Between Henry IV and Hamlet
Reader, former law partner and friend Ralph Kostant sums up the election with a Shakespearean twist:
Shakespeare analyzed this election and the candidates’ respective approaches on the war against terrorism perfectly. In fact, Henry V even anticipates the difference between the President’s foreign policy speeches during his 2000 election campaign and post-September 11:
HENRY V (George Bush):
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there 's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.
Shakespeare also seems to have pegged John Kerrey perfectly:
HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK (John Kerrey):
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
Of course, there are aspects of John Kerrey in Henry V. He misappropriated the phrase “Band of Brothers” for the members of his swift boat crew (other than the gunner who belongs to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth), and he might have used the following words to woo Teresa Heinz:
No; it is not possible you should love the enemy of
France, Kate [Teresa]: but, in loving me, you should love
the friend of France; for I love France so well that
I will not part with a village of it; I will have it
all mine: and, Kate [Teresa], when France is mine and I am
yours, then yours is France and you are mine.