The scandal surrounding News Corp. has taken on epic proportions. The cast of characters involved is fascinating and the plot turns ever more multifaceted. There are unseen twists, dark secrets, meteoric rises, and bitter tragedies. So it's natural that writers and journalists, otherwise at a loss for a way in which to describe the dramatic fallout, are turning increasingly to literature. This is what they've come up with:
William Shakespeare's King Lear. Comparisons between Rupert Murdoch and King Lear, the paranoid tyrant who descended into madness as he held on to his power, have been circulating for years. Before the scandal broke, in a 2002 article by the Telegraph, Murdoch was King Lear (of course), Lachlan and James Murdoch were like Lear's daughters Goneril and Regan, "maneuvering for preferment," and Elisabeth Murdoch was "the Cordelia of the outfit," for opting out of the race.
But the King Lear comparisons have returned with a vengeance with this latest scandal. According to Kevin Myers at The Independent, there has been a reshuffling: Murdoch "appears as a genial old Lear, rewarding the loyalty of his lovely daughter Cordelia: yes, Rebekah Brooks, who -- miraculously -- also resembles a winsome Ophelia, wide-eyed and floating red tresses. Next moment, she stalks the stone corridors like Lady Macbeth, garrotting sentries." And for the rest, he forgoes Lear entirely, and plays fast and loose with Shakespeare's other iconic roles:
And lo! Here comes David Cameron, who thinks he is Henry V at Agincourt, but in reality is a sleekly podgy Juliet in a schoolboy production at Eton, opposite a Romeo played with reptilian bravura by James Murdoch, Rupert's son. Enter stage left that sinister buffoon Piers Morgan, half-Iago, half-clown, bladder in one hand, a freshly sharpened bodkin in the other.
Overall, the scandal is best described as "a surreal Shakespearean composite, an Elsinore on acid."