In Issac Butler’s article entitled,“Did Richard II Provoke an Elizabeth Rebellion,” Butler discusses the implications stemming from Shakespeare’s play, Richard II, and their effects on the second Earl of Essex’s rebellion against Queen Elizabeth in 1601. The day prior to Essex’s attempted rebellion against the queen, his men had paid to present and attend a showing of Shakespeare’s play Richard II. Richard II tells the story of Henry IV’s rebellion against King Richard II, who was a corrupt and unfavorable king, and how Henry managed to take over the throne for the betterment of the nation. Some argued, including the crown, that this act of attending this particular play was meant to signal to the nation of England that corrupt leaders, whose actions paralleled the actions of their current queen, were successfully overthrown in the past and that they should support Essex’s efforts to do it again.
This kind of propaganda that Butler discusses is enacted in the form of a comparison between Queen Elizabeth and a formerly disliked leader. This kind of comparison of a present day leader to a previously disliked leader in history is something that still occurs today. Comparing a leader to a widely disliked historical figure is an effective way to prove a point of why a present day leader is “bad.” During the 2016 election of Donald Trump, comparisons between historical leaders, tyrants, and dictators and Trump were frequently made in the media. Articles illustrated parallels between Donald Trump and Hitler, Stalin, and other unethical and disliked public figures throughout history. If an article proves a few strong points of comparison between Trump and Hitler, for example, then the only conclusion that can follow, given one accepts this premise that these two are in fact very similar, is that Trump is just as terrible of a leader as Adolf Hitler.
Although some of these comparisons may seem far-fetched and some people may not accept the comparisons made, resulting in additional rejections of the conclusions made, this can be an effective method to rally support against a leader. Having seen these kinds of articles during the election myself, I know personally that I was shocked by the comparison points demonstrated in these kinds of articles, and I was fearful of what this could mean for our country. This shock and fear left with the readers of these articles may resonate with them when thinking of President Donald Trump thereafter; therefore, it is a strong form of propaganda to employ. The Earl of Essex’s method of using it continues on throughout present day, and maybe one day a future leader will be compared to President Trump in a similar fashion.