An Over-the-Cliff-Notes Shakespearean Parody
The Tragic Comedy of
A Play by William Shakespeare
(as channeled by Paul Steven Stone)
William Shakespeare’s Trumpty Dumpty takes place in the mythical island nation of Amerikka, a banana republic off the northeast coast of Central America. Amerikka proudly boasts a democratic tradition going back more than 250 years and prides itself on its honest elections and unquestioned moral authority, two items on the endangered species list in the troubled, murky waters of a Donald J. Trump administration.
It is Election Season _ _’19, three years after Donald Trump beats Hillary Clinton for the Chief Potentate job in the Amerikkan election.
Themes and Plotline:
The underlying themes in Trumpty Dumpty are rooted in primal conflicts. Goodness versus Greed, Truth versus Lies. Donald Trump versus Everybody Else. The play, thought to have been lost during Shakespeare’s darkest drinking days, tells of a sharpster megalomaniac, a self-styled billionaire trend setter, who stumbles, with the assistance of Russian state hackers and trolls, into the office of the Chief Potentate of Amerikka (which includes Puerto Rico).
ACT ONE, SCENE ONE
As Shakespeare’s play opens, we are in the darkened Oval Throne Room. Three years have passed since Donald J. Trump bested Hillary Clinton for the Amerikkan Potentate’s throne. Since that time, The Donald has enmeshed himself, his family and colleagues, his country and a bewildered planet in one unnecessary crisis after another. Most—if not all—of his own making.
To understand the magnitude of Donald Trump’s gloom and anxiety as Act One, Scene One opens, we must stand back in awe of the staggering forces ranged against him.
First, there is Robert Mueller and his Special Prosecutor’s Team dogging the Chief Potentate’s every step, past or present. Feeling uncomfortably probed, The Donald repeatedly cries “Foul,” “No collusion!” or “Witch hunt!” to anyone who will listen, while Mueller, the elder investigator and former FBI Chief, stoically remains silent through two years of Trump name-calling, derision, obfuscation and—most significant of all—10 separate attempts to obstruct justice, as dutifully detailed in Mueller’s 448-page report.
The Dumbercrats Have Some Questions
Then, of course, there are The Dumbercrats, Hillary Clinton’s pesky political party, which had the poor manners, as Trump sees it, to win a majority in the House of Representatives in the _ _’18 mid-term elections. And whereas the Repugnant Party chose to ignore Trump’s many missteps, misdeeds and malfeasances when they enjoyed their majority in the House, these nit-picking Dumbercrats are swirling around The Donald like sharks in heat, nibbling away at his greatness with a thousand bites. Subpoenas are suddenly in season like monarch butterflies, fluttering up and down the corridors of power.
And the biggest butterfly of all, Impeachment, is casting a huge shadow across the Amerikkan landscape but as yet seems unwilling to land. The Donald sees the shadow but lies about that as he lies about everything, claiming “It’s just a cloud of gas from one of those shithole countries.”
Then, there are the questions—some of which haven’t yet been asked. Those questions are closing in around The Donald even as he commits further outrages against the American Constitution and defenseless Mexican families.
Those questions, those disturbing questions…
“Why was Russia so helpful in the _ _’16 election?” “What does Putin expect in return?” “How many women have you raped or assaulted?” “Why did Deutsche Bank bankroll you when their risk officers said to turn you down?” “Was it your idea to pay off Stormy Daniels and not report the payment?” “How much are you really worth?” “What happened to the missing millions from your Inauguration Fund?” “Who said you could treat the Trump Charitable Foundation like a personal piggy bank?” Just a few of the many questions waiting to be asked in committees crowded with sober-minded, truth-seeking politicians.
Of the opposite party.
The Biggest Q of All
And then, the biggest question of all: “Were you put in office by Vladimir Putin…to break up NATO…to create instability and chaos…to undermine our military…to construct a burden of debt Amerikka will never escape…to bring Russia back into the G8…to foment trade instability… to sow dissension with our neighbors and allies…to provoke divisions within our own people…to destroy the fabric of Amerikkan society by playing to its worst tendencies…and to leave Amerikka isolated on the world stage?”
It is this very issue of Trump’s colluding with the Russians to win the election, and the possible seismic political upheaval were it to become general knowledge, that swirls around The Donald in the dark of the oval room.
The Mueller report laid it all out for everyone to see, but the public proved too lazy to take in the magnitude of the crimes—the Trump Campaign’s questionable and numerous contacts with Russian operatives, its clear involvement in the Wikileaks theft and exposure of the Clinton emails, the sharing of campaign polling data with the Russians. What was the quid-pro-quo at the heart of the Russia-Trump axis? And what has Trump promised Putin in exchange? Whatever you call it, Trump’s treasonous collusion with America’s long-standing enemy is out there in the open for all to see.
Perhaps Mueller was acting judiciously in not charging anyone with conspiracy, but the evidence of collusion is everywhere in his report.
“Why?” Trump, sitting alone in the darkened room, hears voices asking. “Why cheat? Why lie? Why conceal your tax returns? Why verbally attack your own cities? Your own Congresswomen? Why insult Muslims everywhere? Or your own hurricane-torn territories? Why lift up Putin? Why tear down your intelligence agencies? Why kiss the asses of dictators and nuclear-fixated tyrants? Why, why, why?”
The “Whys” rise in a ghostly angelic chorus like a mist of pesky mosquitoes, their combined buzz filling the Oval Throne Room and serving as tonal background to Shakespeare’s longest, most poignant and tortured soliloquy.
The start of which begins with Donald Trump on one knee facing a photo of his father, Frederick Christ Trump.
“To be me? Or not to be me?
That is the question.
Whether ‘tis wiser to hide my bright light
‘Neath a basket,
And plead ignorance
For fear the rabble will feast on my brilliance.
Dare I ask it?
Do they know how great I am?
Could they know how great I am?
Do they realize I’m more popular than the Beatles?
How great is that, I ask you?
How great is that?”
A knock sounds at one of the darkened room’s many doors.
“Voyti!” Chief Potentate Trump shouts in response, tickled to have already learned enough Russian to answer a door. The Donald first studied Russian back when he had his Moscow Trump Tower dreams. The Russian language studies, however, collapsed with his dreams, and only restarted after a certain unnamed world leader advised him in Helsinki, through an interpreter, “Next time we meet, you better know Russian.”
“Voyti!” The Donald repeats, then adds with irritation, “Enter, for Godsakes, enter!”
William Barr, United States Attorney General, sticks his head through the door, and says, “Mr. President. You sent for me?”
“Did I?” The Donald questions, totally forgetting why, then says, “Oh right! Yes, yes, I did send for you.” The Donald, as a reward for Barr’s faithful service has installed the Attorney General in a room off the Oval Throne Room. The room had previously been a closet.
He looks around the office, as if assuring himself they are alone. “How are you William?” he asks softly, as he often does in seductions or when setting up a con job, switching on the personal charm and the overhead light at the same time and beckoning Barr in.
As he does with everyone, Trump uses his handshake to pull his unwitting participant into a virtual locked embrace, his large frame hovering over and close to his quarry, gripping tightly, almost like a threat. With his hand tightly grasping Barr’s, he asks, “Tell me, Bill, is your limousine large enough?” as if he had personally selected it. “The color suit your taste? What about your office? Are you happy with your office…?”
Fidgety and uncomfortable, Barr smiles awkwardly and suggests, “Perhaps if I had a window…?”
Clearly distracted and unable to hear anything but the voices in his head, Trump says, “Yes, I see” as if he doesn’t see a thing, then looks up at his Attorney General and says, “Oh Bill, I’m glad you’re here.” He puts his hand in his pocket and pulls out a five-dollar bill. Handing the bill to the Attorney General, Trump says, “This time of night, I’d go crazy for a genuine corn beef Reuben. Sadly, there are no good delicatessens here in Washington, but Katz And Jammer’s near Dupont Circle is as good as any.”
Taking the money from the president, William Barr looks at the five-dollar bill and slowly it dawns on him what is being asked.
“With Russian dressing?” he asks drily.
“Konyeshna,”Donald Trump replies, meaning, “Of course.”
As the Attorney General opens the door, a voice behind him says ominously, “And I expect to see some change.”
As he often does, The Chief Potentate ruminates fondly upon his Attorney-General who, Shakespeare reminds us, pulled The Donald’s ass out of the fire just before the bomb went off, so to speak, when he stood before the nation and totally mischaracterized the Mueller Report and its conclusions before anyone had a chance to see it. In essence, pouring a blanket of water on the Flame of Truth Bob Mueller was charged to ignite.
He briefly wonders how far his Attorney General would go to follow his orders…? “Would he kill for me,” Trump idly asks himself, then makes a face of pleasant surprise at the answer.
Then his fantasies, which are never far away, take over the soliloquy.
“Just imagine,” he declares.
“If I could order my enemies rounded up.
Gently, you understand.
Gently thrown in prison,
Their presses and their news networks gently closed down,
Their fortunes gently sacrificed to the state
Just like Vladimir does.
A real gentleman.”
The Donald pauses to pull out a money roll and count it out, bill by bill. Then looks up and throws the money into the air as an interesting thought comes to him…
“But maybe if I was King…
Isn’t that how the song goes?
If I was Amerikka’s
I’d quickly outlaw strife,
Grant divorces to those men
Who married an ugly wife.
Put two chickens in every pot,
Outlaw poverty from the start.
If only they could see
How much I deserve to be
Their lifelong “majesty”
More than Obama who cooled you,
More than Hillary who fooled you.
Born in the USA and hung like a stallion
Who else but…The Donald!
If only…For life!
Trump’s Psychological Profile
At Over-The-Cliff-Notes we debated whether to include the above conversation between Chief Potentate Trump and his Attorney General, but eventually decided to include it since it clearly illustrates what many have already concluded: that Shakespeare believed Donald Trump psychologically unfit to hold high office. It’s so obvious the Donald has only the most tenuous hold on reality. Notice how vaguely he acts, as if sleepwalking. Then watch his sudden surprise at seeing the man whose hand he just shook moments before!
There are other signs of reality slipping from The Donald’s grasp. Notice he mentions “This time of night,” in explaining his hunger. Fact is it is only 3:23 in the afternoon when he says those words. Also, Shakespeare has Trump handing Attorney General Barr a five-dollar bill to buy a “genuine corn beef Reuben” sandwich (which at the time Shakespeare wrote his play cost $23.95 at Katz’s Delicatessen in NYC) and expects to see change!
The scene also offers some insight into the Donald’s use of his personal power. The handshake pulling in his victim, then the over-arching embrace that holds the man captive in his grasp. Then the gentle reminders of just who the founder of William Barr’s feast might be. “Is your limousine large enough?” he asks, as if he could give a good goddamn. “Do you like the color?” he probes almost mechanically, even though he is clearly lost at the moment to the voices in his head.
Not since The Merchant of Venice has Shakespeare imbued a character with so much passion to make a buck. No, that’s not right. Trump’s passion is not to make a buck, but to make more bucks than anyone else! And to make them
with precious little effort. Perhaps bending a few rules, telling a few lies. You know, having some fun. Selling steaks, selling neckties made in China, selling wine, selling bottled water, selling a Trump autobiography written by somebody else, essentially selling as much gilded bullshit to as many suckers as will buy it.
There are two phrases Shakespeare repeatedly puts in The Donald’s mouth, at times when the Chief Potentate is showing off his grifter’s skills to sycophants. They’re both four letters, for efficiency and impact one suspects. When Donald shouts “The con is on!” you know he’s about to pull the trigger on some bold, hopefully unexpected move. When he needs to create a diversion from a self-created crises, he merely throws another bomb into the mix, usually explaining, “Let’s stir things up.”
Shakespeare’s Trumpty Dumpty stands apart from the cannon of the Bard’s work for the outsized, anti-social behavior of its protagonist, a liar who can out-lie Iago, a king who can act more blindly than Lear, a fraud who, like Richard The Third, can out-dazzle aggrieved widows, even those whose widowhood he himself caused. The Donald is a con man with a silver tongue that never stumbles over a lie. An egomaniac who has deadened the nerve endings of half the world’s population by his constant barrage of bizarre behavior and dishonest words, Trump can do and say almost anything without risk of shocking anyone. A frequently cited symptom of chronic TFS (Trump Fatigue Syndrome).
Could this really be the man Amerikkans have entrusted with the levers of power, Shakespeare asks? A man who can see no further than his own financial well-being? A man smart enough to know the planet is overheating, but greedy enough to choose immediate economic benefit over the health and survival of the Earth itself.
What does Shakespeare mean for us to believe when his play’s eponymous character, and single most important voice, steps onto the world stage and immediately begins telling…we hate to say it, but, well…lies? An endless stream of lies, in fact. Thousands and thousands of lies, as one newspaper inventoried. More than 12,000 in the first two years alone.
A Wall of Lies or Black Steel Slats?
Historians and literary analysts have long agreed Shakespeare intended the title Trumpty Dumpty to refer metaphorically to the ultimate fall of Donald Trump. From power. From grace. From Amerikka’s good opinion. Whether Shakespeare implies The Donald’s fall relates to the actual wall he promised to build (at Mexican expense) or to the eventual crumbling of the Wall of Lies he incautiously constructed to keep out the Truth, we may never know. Whichever wall he meant, however, Trumpty Dumpty climaxes with one of the most dramatic endings ever seen in a Shakespearean Play. Drama critics have termed it “the Great Man’s Great Fall.”
The Great Man’s Great Fall:
The idea was to destroy all fruit from the poisoned tree.
The title of the original House bill was “The Russian Reversal Act,” and it attempted, as best as possible, to eradicate any trace of Putin’s Puppy, as Donald Trump came to be known, from Amerikkan government or political life. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t filed until after the _ _’20 election when Donald Trump—on the ballot but already impeached—Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell and the Senate Repugnant majority were thrown out and replaced by Dumbercrats. The bill declared every Trump executive order rescinded, every Trump-signed bill reviewed and re-voted, every fired government employee given a fresh interview, and, most importantly, every judge appointed by Trump, NO MATTER WHAT LEVEL, was temporarily suspended while undergoing a review process detailed in the bill, a provision heatedly condemned by a highly excited Judge Kavanaugh.
Most importantly, the bill declared the election of Donald J. Trump to be null and void, and stipulated that on documents, signs and placques where he is listed as Amerikka’s 45thChief Potentate, the number 45 will be crossed out and replaced with an asterisk (*) which links to a footnote at the bottom that reads “Donald J. Trump was proven to be a fraud.”
Those are Shakespeare’s last words on the matter.
Except of course for this…
Trumpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Trumpty Dumpty had a big fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Trumpty back in power again.