A lesson on the Bard
October 14, 2002
First, I am proud to be an attorney. Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and many other U.S. Presidents and founders of our country were attorneys.
I had hoped that the Entrance to Aspen debate would not include personal attacks. Unfortunately Cliff Weiss in his letter to the editor (Aspen Times, Oct. 11) chose to attack me and, worse, take William Shakespeare, the greatest playwright of all time, out of context.
In Shakespeare’s “Henry VI” it was a character named Dick the Butcher who said: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” But Mr. Weiss has taken it completely out of context.
Dick makes this quote in response to Jack Cade, a rabble-rouser who is attempting the overthrow of the King. Cade says: “I thank you, good people: there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers and worship me their lord.”
Essentially, Cade wants to establish a dictatorship and Dick the Butcher sees killing lawyers as an essential first step because they are protectors of law and order. The context of Shakespeare’s quote was, therefore, that if a disorderly revolution were desired, killing all the lawyers was a necessity.
Shakespeare knew that lawyers and other educated men were necessary to maintain order and that without lawyers there would be chaos and anarchy.
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Finally, Mr. Weiss I think people would be more inclined to listen to your ideas if you leave out the personal attacks and threats. In addition, I can loan you my copy of “Henry VI,” which I suggest you actually read before you quote the Bard again.
Tony Hershey, Esq.
Aspen City Council