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Shakespeare on Tyranny

Dr. Larry Allums

What motivates the tyrant? With the end of the Cold War in 1991, autocratic regimes seemed in retreat, yet since the early 21st century, a steady decline in global freedom has stimulated renewed fears of tyranny as a possibility even in Western democracies. What accounts for this dramatic shift, and are the populist movements in the West today connected to the prospect of the tyrant’s rise? Shakespeare offers profound insights into tyranny’s threat to democracy, as do political writers both ancient (Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch) and modern (Machiavelli, Strauss, Snyder). In this class we will focus on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Richard III, and Hamlet, with background texts on the nature of tyranny.

November 1, 8, 15, and 29, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Tuition: Nonmembers $125; member discounts starting at $110

Class materials and recordings [password protected]

About the instructor


Dr. Larry Allums is Executive Director of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. He earned his M.A. in Literature and his Ph.D. in Literature and Political Philosophy from the University of Dallas’ Institute of Philosophic Studies. He came to the Dallas Institute in 1998 from the University of Mobile, where he was Professor of English and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He has edited a volume of essays on epic poetry, The Epic Cosmos, and published articles on ancient Greek and Roman literature, Dante, and writers of the American Southern renascence, including William Faulkner, Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, and Caroline Gordon. Under his leadership, the Dallas Institute continues to emphasize its commitment to urban issues and its longstanding work with pre-K through 12th grade elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and superintendents. During his tenure, he has directed the creation of several new Institute programs, including the Hiett Prize in the Humanities, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Symposium, and The Dallas Festival of Ideas in partnership with The Dallas Morning News.

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