Foul is Fair: What Shakespeare Really Thought about Lawyers
Judith D. Fischer
University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law
Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, Vol. 5, p. 157, 1994-1995
This article discusses Shakespeare's views of lawyers. It explains the meaning and background behind William Shakespeare's famous quotation, "Let's kill all the lawyers." In the play Henry VI, two disreputable rebels, Dick and Cade, discuss overthrowing the king. The buffoonish Dick says, "First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." The line probably prompted a laugh from Shakespeare's audiences, but on another level, it conveys a serious message one that compliments lawyers. Shakespeare is saying that those who want anarchy must first get rid of lawyers, who could effectively challenge them. The article also discusses Shakespeare's views of lawyers as evidenced in his personal life and in other characters, including Othello and Richard II. Review of Daniel J. Kornstein's book, Kill All the Lawyers? Shakespeare's Legal Appeal (1994).
Keywords: Lawyers, kill all the lawyers, Shakespeare, Henry VI, Dick, Cade, rebels, revolution, Othello, Richard II, Kornstein
JEL Classification: K10
Date posted: May 10, 2007