President Trump As King Lear: “I am a man / More sinn’d against than sinning.”

From an opinion piece, “Would Shakespeare Impeach Trump,” by Gregg Opelka in the Wall Street Journal. Opelka is a musical theater composer-lyricist.

If Democrats really wanted to understand the president, they would read Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” All the aging monarch wants is to be loved and appreciated by his three daughters. . . .

Mr. Trump is Lear, and the country is the king’s daughters. What wounded the king more than anything was filial ingratitude. What seems to gall Mr. Trump most is the thought that his achievements—record low unemployment, substantial tax cuts, a booming stock market, deregulation, judges—go unacknowledged. . . .After a series of seemingly never-ending assaults on his dignity, Lear painfully observes out on the rainy heath: “I am a man / More sinn’d against than sinning.” It isn’t difficult to envision Mr. Trump saying the same.

Even adamant supporters of the president aren’t blind to his annoying character flaws—the endless self-aggrandizement, the bravado, the hyperbole, the unpresidential disregard for language. Mr. Trump’s brashness invites his mistreatment to some extent. Shakespeare’s Lear was full of himself too. And like the king, Mr. Trump has been subjected to a daily barrage of indignities, distortions and outright falsehoods, which render him a folk hero to his followers.

In the Trump-Lear story, Mr. Trump’s champions resemble the faithful Kent, who called the monarch “every inch a king.” In Mr. Trump they see every inch a president. Impeachment may turn some against Mr. Trump, but it will only rally those who actually understand him.

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