The European Legacy 15 (2):137-147 (2010)
What Shakespeare reveals in Macbeth is the all too human temptation to embrace tyranny. In exposing this temptation, however, Shakespeare also shows that the alleged inevitability of tyranny is a contradictory illusion that cannot survive the cycle of violence that it spawns. In comparable terms Abraham Lincoln exposed the tyranny of slavery as the hypocritical mockery of democracy which threatened the very survival of the American republic. Instead of teaching an illusory and despairing resignation to the tyrannies that plague human history, however, both Shakespeare and Lincoln defend a biblical standard of hope and justice (for all human beings) that is the very opposite of tyrannical illusions
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