In Shakespeare’s play “Henry VI Part 2” is the reasonably famous line spoken by one of the characters that proposes killing all the lawyers, and I have always wondered what this would have meant to a late 14th century audience. Dick the butcher, a character no one remembers, utters one of the few memorable lines from the entire three-part Henry the Sixth cycle. You can turn any bit of everyday prose into the English of Shakespeare’s day. Henry VI, Part 2 Act 4, Scene 2 . Did Edward de Vere Write as “William Shakespeare”?The Top 18 Reasons To Think So Famous SkepticsMany great writers, thinkers, and artists have questioned who really wrote the works of “Shake-speare.” Meet them here. He’s allied with Jack Spade, who’s seeking to overthrow the King and assume the throne himself. Just after the line is spoken, Dick and his allies kick off their plan by murdering the county clerk. Why did he want all the lawyers killed? Spanish Proverb The ideal client is the very wealthy man in very great trouble. While I may tell a lawyer joke or two on occasion (like what do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 100? To be, or not to be, that is the question: / Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer / The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, / Or to take arms against a sea of troubles In so doing, he perpetuates a political, although professionally flattering, deconstructive interpretation, one that, I … In a particularly memorable scene, Tom Hanks’s character, Andrew Beckett, is lying on his deathbed. The famous phrase, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” appears in Henry VI, Part 2, one of Shakespeare’s historical plays. 2) Did Macbeth always want to be king? Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. That is when one of the conspirators chimes in, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” His goal was to destroy the law, so that the citizens would have no legal protection. Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. 3) Why does Macbeth think the Witches want to help him? Philadelphia is high on my list of favorites. As his name implies, Dick’s a killer and a gang member. Your Honor. Famous Shakespeare Quote Although set in different times many of the most famous quotes about life and love by William Shakespeare are still relevant today. "I'm a lawyer. Answer Save. I have worked on a few legal cases (about half a dozen over a decade). Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates, and your cubs as they need and ye can; But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill man. Quotes related to Law within To Kill a Mockingbird. so maybe they're referring to Shakespeare. --William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2. On one interpretation (there are others), Dick’s suggestion to kill all the lawyers is far from tongue-in-cheek. Get over it . And what is the relevance for employee benefits law? DICK The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. In fact, Shakespeare's play shares many of the details of Brooks' poem. Shakespeare, Justice Stevens believes, is telling us that eliminating lawyers permits tyrants to run amok on the rights and liberties of people; that’s why the Bard put the words into the mouth of a bad guy, a rebel, an anarchist. Dick the Butcher. While I may tell a lawyer joke or two on occasion (like what do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 100? Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness… We must be able to recognize opportunities. I get the 'humor,' " he says. Now, Mr. Epstein is among an unhappy band of attorneys who are toiling to, as they view it, set the record straight. I thank you, good people: there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers and worship me their lord. The story, however, was a commonly told one throughout Europe and was not unique to Brooks either. The full quote is "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers". What did Shakespeare mean with "...kill all the lawyers"?? His character, Dick the Butcher, in Henry VI, Part 2 (IV, ii) a rebel and aspiring tyrant proposes ''The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers,'' understanding lawyers (law and order) to be an impediment to his plans. The truth about “Let’s kill all the lawyers”! We’ve all heard the line: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”. Important conversations are happening now. The Eagles from "When Hell Freezes Over"-Dio See PHONECON … Marriage in the Elizabethan Period . -- John Sterling William Shakespeare, often called England's national poet, is considered the greatest dramatist of all time. What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 85? And lawyers -- can anyone say "card carrying member of the ACLU" (I can) -- are on the front lines in the fight to preserve civil liberties in … 1 decade ago. If ye kill before midnight be silent and wake not the woods with your bay, Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop and thy brothers go empty away. update (May 31, 2008): Even ex-lawyer Paul Levine, author of the successful Solomon vs. Lord series, … William Shakespeare was an English dramatist, poet, and actor considered by many to be the greatest dramatist of all time. William Shakespeare quotes such as "To be, or not to be" and "O Romeo, Romeo! Why did Shakespeare say, “Let’s kill all the lawyers”? What did Shakespeare mean when he wrote, "first we get rid of all the lawyers?"? This kind of joke turns up elsewhere in Shakespeare's plays, and it is pretty reasonable to assume that 'let's kill all lawyers' is intended to be funny, not serious. Don Henley: lead vocals; Glenn Frey: lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals; Don Felder: lead and rhythm guitar Mr. Shakespeare's "Suspected" Birthday. But the bottom line today is that lawyers are one of the most important funding sources for the Democratic Party. Interested in reading more? Your Honor. He says, “All the world’s a stage,/ And all the men and women merely players.” The meaning of this phrase is that this world is like a stage show, and all human beings are merely actors. “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”: Shakespeare and the legal world Published October 2018 In this new regular feature of the Digest, Madeleine Jones and Rose Lagram-Taylor cast their Legal Eye over matters of legal interest, both ancient and modern. William Shakespeare was inspired to write "Romeo and Juliet" by a poem titled "Romeus and Juliet" by Arthur Brooks. The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers. Shakespeare Authorship 101Brush up your Shakespeare Authorship! Personnel. One of the earliest, and most well-known examples, appears in William Shakespeare’s Henry VI: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”. 4) Does Lady Macbeth commit suicide? Presented with Jack's utopian ideal, Dick's first thought about the best way to enact a utopia is to kill all lawyers (badum-tish). It quivers with legal immediacy and raises fundamental questions of law and morality. JoanL on October 28, 2011 12:21 pm. Weddings were solemn . ALL God save your majesty! In the play, getting rid of the lawyers … 571-574. The famous phrase, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” appears in Henry VI, Part 2, one of Shakespeare’s historical plays. I have often heard this line quoted form Shakespeare. It isn't the line itself: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." It is better to be a mouse in a cat's mouth than a man in a lawyer's hands. They’re actually quite fun. 35. So, when Shakespeare wrote "let's kill all the lawyers" he is being funny. Lv 5. Henry VI, Act 4, Sc 2. The honest ones anyway. He exaggerated, but he also had an insight. Like several other phrases, this phrase was coined by William Shakespeare.Jacques has spoken this famous phrase in Act-II, Scene-VII of the play As You Like It. There are characters in Shakespeare’s plays that might reflect some of Shakespeare’s own thinking, like John of Gaunt in Richard II and the Duke of Burgundy in Henry V. That is not the case with this line. Alas, don’t fret. The line comes from Shakespeare's "Henry VI, Part 2" and is spoken by Dick the Butcher, the dopey henchman of rebel leader Jack Cade. An ongoing theme in To Kill a Mockingbird is the complicated relationship between the abstract justice system and the individuals who participate in it. He’s serious. The Bard gave that line to a villain in Henry VI. His plays are still burned in our cultural memory and performed the world over. 5) How did Birnam Wood move and why was Macduff able to kill Macbeth? One of William Shakespeare's most notable lines is "let's kill all the lawyers" from the play Henry VI, Part II. … Jack Cade. One of William Shakespeare's most notable lines is "let's kill all the lawyers" from the play Henry VI, Part II. All. What do you call a thousand lawyers gathered together in airports across the country? "The first thing we do," said the character in Shakespeare's Henry VI, is "kill all the lawyers." Other famous Shakespeare quotes such as "I 'll not budge an inch", "We have seen better days" ,"A dish fit for the gods" and the expression it's "Greek to me" have all become catch phrases in modern day speech. He is also being provocative. He believes that lawyers stand in the way of their planned revolution. Marriage in Elizabethan Times. That idea, argues lawyer David Epstein, is mistakenly thought to mean that Shakespeare was antagonistic toward the legal profession. It is among Shakespeare's most famous lines, as well as one of his most controversial. Online Shakespeare Translator. 4, pp. 12, No. Legal themes permeate the play and rivet the attention of … Although "Romeo and Juliet" is synonymous with William Shakespeare, in many regards, the play is … Designed to bring wealth to the family. What Shakespeare is trying to say here is that the lawyers are the protectors of the law. Shakespeare may be making a joke when character "Dick The Butcher" suggests one of the ways the band of pretenders to the throne can improve the country is to kill all the lawyers. But the big, bad world doesn't owe you a thing . Rather, it was intended to eliminate those who might stand in the way of a contemplated revolution -- thus underscoring the important role that lawyers can play in society. Customs. Attorney critics frequently allege that Shakespeare said “First, kill all the lawyers…”. For example, when Olivia in Twelfth Night is in love with Viola (who is dressed as her brother Sebastian), we know that she is in fact in love with a woman. ©2021 Verizon Media. Shakespeare never suggested killing lawyers. In the play, the criminals know that for their plot to work, they'll have to get rid of lawyers. Often, humor can be derived from this. Larry62. "But I don't like this target on my back.". William Shakespeare (1564-1616), considered the greatest English-speaking writer in history and England’s national poet, has had more theatrical works performed than any other playwright. God save your majesty! Shakespeare Didn't Really Want To Kill All The Lawyers, But We Should Deregulate Their Profession George Leef Former Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. This past Friday, as I watched lawyers across the country flock to the aid of immigrants detained by a draconian executive order, I couldn’t help but think of Dick the Butcher, his planned revolution, and all the lawyers standing in his way. The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. Contrary to popular belief, the proposal was not designed to restore sanity to commercial life. “Let's kill all the lawyers”: What did Shakespeare mean? It’s the most rigorous of their examinations and involves a great deal of questions. “Let's kill all the lawyers”: What did Shakespeare mean? People have argued for centuries about whether Shakespeare's dialogue about killing all the lawyers is extoling or condemning those who practice law. The inscription on a novelty mug for sale at the Shakespeare Theatre Company's gift shop in Washington always gets a rise out of veteran trial lawyer David Epstein. Our “merciless interrogation” doesn’t come from Shakespeare at all, but rather through the induction of a Master Mason into Freemasonry. Shakespeare on Lawyers and the Law The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. Add your voice. Today is National Voter Registration Day! It isn't the line itself: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." The line is spoken by Dick the Butcher. Senator) I actually have a lot of respect for lawyers. Dramatic irony is when the audience is party to knowledge that the characters in the play are not. We might also urge the bashers to read their Shakespeare more carefully. With their all-encompassing cultural reach, you might think that the Fab Four would've had more Shakespeare references in their songs. Most people who quote this line have little idea of its surrounding context. Relevance. Journal of Legal Medicine: Vol. 12, No. Click here to see more of Ozan Varol’s writing. 4, pp. Shakespeare meant what he said. As a law professor, I have a soft spot for lawyer movies. The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. There shall be in England seven halfpenny loaves sold for a penny, the three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops, and I will make it felony to drink small beer. It is better to be a mouse in a cat's mouth than a man in a lawyer's hands. in one of The Eagles songs 'Get Over it' there's a line it that goes "The Way I Think About It, Old Billy Was Right, Let's Kill All The Lawyers, Kill 'em Tonight." Weddings were arranged by both families who would benefit. Join him at ozanvarol.com. --William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2. To be, or not to be: that is the question. 571-574. At his side is his lawyer, Joe Miller, played by Denzel Washington. Dick is a rough character, a killer as evil as his name implies, like the other henchmen, an… If you need to flag this entry as abusive. This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. so it maybe is Shakespeare. Here is the context: CADE: Be brave, for your captain is brave and vows reformation. People have argued for centuries about whether Shakespeare's dialogue about killing all the lawyers is extoling or condemning those who practice law. Lawyers are oppressors, they need to be eradicated, let’s kill them all. What was the context? Favorite Answer. J.B. Hopkins concludes that Shakespeare’s line, “Let’s kill all the lawyers,” is, contrary to its facial meaning, a statement in praise of lawyers, not in derogation of them. Richard II, Captain Shakespeare mentions law more than any other profession. Like every other group, lawyers come in all shades. They must be eliminated. -- John Sterling "Lawyers Are": Those whose interests and abilities lie in perverting, confounding and eluding the law. You don't want to work, you want to live like a king . The song references William Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part II: "Old Billy was right: let's kill all the lawyers—kill 'em tonight", echoing Shakespeare's line "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers". Shakespeare, himself, never suggested killing lawyers. Shakespeare Quote - "The first thing we do, lets kill all the lawyers" All: God save your majesty! Shakespeare's exact line ''The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers,'' was stated by Dick the Butcher in ''Henry VI,'' Part II, act IV, Scene II, Line 73. Cade: Nay, that I mean to do. For women, her wedding day is one of the most important day of her life. Get over it, Get over it . Although institutions may appear fair on paper, each trial is in some way biased by the judge, jury, lawyers, and other individuals in the courtroom. All rights reserved. Let's kill all the lawyers, kill 'em tonight . No writer’s living reputation can compare to that of Shakespeare, whose notable plays include the tragedies Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King … If you don't want to play, then you might as well split . Women had little choice over who her husband would be. Journal of Legal Medicine: Vol. “The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.” ― William Shakespeare, King Henry VI, Part 2 tags: anarchy , classic , murder , wit 6) What convinces Macbeth that the Witches’ prophecy is … (1991). CADE Nay, that I mean … He is also speaking his mind, and expressing a lifelong anger, and frustration at a system of contracts and courts that could destroy a great man like his father. This is particularly true for business owners. "Let's kill all the lawyers" is a line from William Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2. Cade: I thank you, good people—there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score, and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord. Thy meaning will be obvious in just a moment. I admit this freely. Many people get it wrong about one of Shakespeare’s most famous quotes, the one about lawyers. Associate Professor of Law at Lewis & Clark Law School. CADE I thank you, good people: there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers and worship me their lord. Shakespeare had a character once famously say: "First, let's kill all the lawyers." You will notice, however, that Shakespeare was silent on the question of a less drastic reform. If Andrew Beckett from Philadelphia could see what this proud law professor saw on Friday night, he might have changed his joke. Origin of All the World’s a Stage. Business owners need lawyers, and it’s also worth pointing out that this is a line widely misinterpreted. Walmart promo code: $10 off all categories, Microsoft discount - $500 off Surface Laptop 3, Boscov's promo code - Extra 15% off $100+ sitewide, Get a 20% American Eagle coupon with your new AEO Connected credit card, Journeys promo - $15 off Adidas Swift Run X Athletic Shoe Camo, When Rioters Stormed the Capitol: How the Day Unfolded, Video: Congress Certifies Biden’s Victory, Video: Mob Forces Way Into Capitol, Prompting Lockdown, ‘Today Was a Dark Day’ for the U.S. Capitol, Pence Says, Video: Warnock Wins Runoff, Promises to Work for All Georgians, News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services. treachery in Shakespeare's King Henry VI shows - "The first thing we must do is kill all the lawyers," - the surest way to chaos and tyranny even then was to remove the guardians of independent thinking. They all accept that the prince has a legitimate obligation to avenge his father’s murder and thus restore the status quo – the fact that the murderer is the sovereign himself leaves him no option but to take the law into his own hands to achieve through revenge what Bacon called ‘a kind of wild justice’. God and Shakespeare did not create beings of paper, they gave them flesh and blood! Shakespeare never suggested killing lawyers. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote! “Service to others is a worthy goal for an aspiring professional and the best response all lawyers can make to our critics. Despite Shakespeare’s rather wonderful line in Henry Vi, we can’t actually get rid of lawyers. 33. Although we assume Shakespeare did not formally study law, we see from the many references in the plays that he had acquired a significant general knowledge of legal terminology. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. -- Jonathan Swift. One of the earliest, and most well-known examples, appears in William Shakespeare’s Henry VI: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Most people who quote this line have little idea of its surrounding context. Part of HuffPost News. It is that so few people see it his way: The Bard wasn't knocking lawyers, much less endorsing a litigicidal rampage, he says, but defending them. The line is spoken by Dick the Butcher. The words, ‘Let’s kill all the lawyers,’ were not spoken by a disgruntled litigant (or even by Henry VI’s press secretary). Spanish Proverb The ideal client is the very wealthy man in very great trouble. wherefore art thou Romeo?" 34. Shakespeare, we are subtly invited to conclude, knew the fundamental value of lawyers to civilization. Have you ever tried an online Shakespeare translator? Shakespeare's words are so different from the ones we use today. Shakespeare wrote it in 1598 ( Henry VI, Part 2) and people are still saying it today. True to his form, Andrew (himself a lawyer) manages to find humor in this grim moment and cracks a joke: Lawyer jokes have been around for centuries. Why is there an authorship question? Get over it . (1991). The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. As Daniel Kornstein explains in his book Kill All the Lawyers: Shakespeare's Legal Appeal: Measure for Measure is an ideal play for lawyers. The Bard gave that line to a villain in Henry VI. 4 Answers. Favorite Answer . form some of literature's most celebrated lines. and Don Henley, the lead singer, who wrote it, is an English major. He was the greatest Western playwright of all time. Interpretation ( there are others ), Dick ’ s also worth pointing out that this is a goal. Of her life to get the news sent straight to you ), Dick and his allies kick off plan! Shakespeare on lawyers and the law actually get rid of all time gave that line a. 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