You’re reading Reaction. Subscribe to get editor Iain Martin’s weekly newsletter, daily columnists including Tim Marshall, unlimited access to all the stories by our brilliant team of journalists, and our daily email with analysis every evening.
Aficionados of tragedy should pay a visit to the epic production of King Lear, running at the White House Theatre, Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington DC. The mad king is graphically played by Joseph Robinette Biden, who also moonlights as 46th President of the United States. “Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise” is the prevailing theme of this production.
Who is it that can tell me who I am?” asks the principal, with compelling realism. Indeed, Biden is a more credible Lear than the Shakespearian original. His callous indifference to the casualties in Afghanistan, as testified by parents of the dead marines and the camera catching him at the ceremony of reception of the bodies, with one hand on his heart and the other raised to consult his watch (How much longer is this going to go on?), brought extra force to the line: “Man’s life is cheap as beast’s.”