Shakespeare on Trial

Last night three U.S. Supreme Court judges participated in the annual mock trial event in Washington D.C. Law professor Kenji Yoshino explains how these events use Shakespeare to teach us about justice. 

Every years since 1994, the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C. presents mock trials, often based on characters from Shakespeare's plays. On April 10 this year, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Samuel Alito Jr. and Sonia Sotomayor presided over a trial involving characters from Oscar Wilde's 1895 play An Ideal Husband, a play in this season's repertoire. Past mock trials have involved the guilt or innocence of characters who committed murder, and the use of the insanity defense for Hamlet

What's the Big Idea?

While the event is all in good fun, and often has a humorous tone behind it, Constitutional Law professor Kenji Yoshino told Big Think the mock trials often have serious undertones, and allow us to view contemporary issues of justice through the works of Shakespeare. 

For instance, Yoshino tells the story of how he tried a case involving the guilt or innocence of King Henry V, who he tried in a mock trial as a war criminal:

Related Articles
Keep reading Show less

Five foods that increase your psychological well-being

These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.

Mind & Brain

We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.

Keep reading Show less

For the 99%, the lines are getting blurry

Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.

What is the middle class now, anyway? (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs

For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.

Keep reading Show less