Donald Trump’s supporters recently stormed a production of Julius Caesar in New York because the title character, who is ultimately stabbed to death, resembles the American president too strongly. These critics have, however, fundamentally misunderstood Shakespeare’s Caesar.
Caesar has a thatch of blonde hair, a red tie that is far too long, and a well-dressed wife who speaks with a thick Slavic accent; he also bathes in gold and tweets frenetically. When the Public Theater in New York this May/June staged Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in Central Park, the allusions to Donald Trump were glaringly obvious.
The problem is that Caesar, even in his Trumpian manifestation, stays on script – and so at the beginning of act 3 he is inevitably surrounded and bloodily stabbed, before exclaiming Et tu, Brute and passing away. This was all too much for the conservative media outlet Fox News, who pumped out a shaky recording of the scene under the heading “NYC Play Appears to Depict Assassination of Trump”. It was likewise too much for Delta Air Lines and Bank of America, who rescinded their sponsorship of the play.