Audio

Mythologizing Empire

For people of Shakespeare's time, the idea of "empire" was something new. As Britain's power spread, the eternal questions remained: what makes a great empire successful, and what pitfalls need to be watched out for? No ancient empire offered more lessons than the Roman Empire - which had, of course, conquered Britain. In his plays set in the Roman Empire, Shakespeare explored themes of leadership, human frailty, political downfall, while at the same time mythologizing the birth of a new Rome in Britain. A discussion from the Stratford Festival, featuring artistic director Antoni Cimolino, theatre critic Robert Cushman, and Royal Ontario Museum researcher Kate Cooper.
For people of Shakespeare's time, the idea of "empire" was something new. As Britain's power spread, the eternal questions remained: what makes a great empire successful, and what pitfalls need to be watched out for? No ancient empire offered more lessons than the Roman Empire - which had, of course, conquered Britain. In his plays set in the Roman Empire, Shakespeare explored themes of leadership, human frailty, political downfall, while at the same time mythologizing the birth of a new Rome in Britain. A discussion from the Stratford Festival, featuring artistic director Antoni Cimolino, theatre critic Robert Cushman, and Royal Ontario Museum researcher Kate Cooper. 53:59