Here is the context: CADE: Be brave, for your captain is brave and vows reformation. While I may tell a lawyer joke or two on occasion (like what do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 100? Shakespeare, we are subtly invited to conclude, knew the fundamental value of lawyers to civilization. Henry VI, Act 4, Sc 2. 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. It isn't the line itself: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." 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. 12, No. God and Shakespeare did not create beings of paper, they gave them flesh and blood! 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. The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. Now, Mr. Epstein is among an unhappy band of attorneys who are toiling to, as they view it, set the record straight. Online Shakespeare Translator. Important conversations are happening now. If you don't want to play, then you might as well split . Favorite Answer . Shakespeare never suggested killing lawyers. It is better to be a mouse in a cat's mouth than a man in a lawyer's hands. All rights reserved. It quivers with legal immediacy and raises fundamental questions of law and morality. It is among Shakespeare's most famous lines, as well as one of his most controversial. It is better to be a mouse in a cat's mouth than a man in a lawyer's hands. Mr. 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. The story, however, was a commonly told one throughout Europe and was not unique to Brooks either. wherefore art thou Romeo?" Women had little choice over who her husband would be. Attorney critics frequently allege that Shakespeare said “First, kill all the lawyers…”. What did Shakespeare mean with "...kill all the lawyers"?? “Let's kill all the lawyers”: What did Shakespeare mean? Philadelphia is high on my list of favorites. So, when Shakespeare wrote "let's kill all the lawyers" he is being funny. Customs. 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. 33. Contrary to popular belief, the proposal was not designed to restore sanity to commercial life. While I may tell a lawyer joke or two on occasion (like what do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 100? 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. The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. Journal of Legal Medicine: Vol. Shakespeare, himself, never suggested killing lawyers. What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 85? so it maybe is Shakespeare. Alas, don’t fret. Despite Shakespeare’s rather wonderful line in Henry Vi, we can’t actually get rid of lawyers. Senator) I actually have a lot of respect for lawyers. Origin of All the World’s a Stage. "I'm a lawyer. 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. Thy meaning will be obvious in just a moment. 6) What convinces Macbeth that the Witches’ prophecy is … In a particularly memorable scene, Tom Hanks’s character, Andrew Beckett, is lying on his deathbed. 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. Most people who quote this line have little idea of its surrounding context. 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. so maybe they're referring to Shakespeare. “The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.” ― William Shakespeare, King Henry VI, Part 2 tags: anarchy , classic , murder , wit -- John Sterling The line is spoken by Dick the Butcher. I have worked on a few legal cases (about half a dozen over a decade). Henry VI, Part 2 Act 4, Scene 2 . 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. form some of literature's most celebrated lines. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote! 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. See PHONECON … Dick the butcher, a character no one remembers, utters one of the few memorable lines from the entire three-part Henry the Sixth cycle. 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. 3) Why does Macbeth think the Witches want to help him? It’s the most rigorous of their examinations and involves a great deal of questions. 4, pp. Shakespeare Authorship 101Brush up your Shakespeare Authorship! Get over it, Get over it . Weddings were solemn . … Shakespeare's "Suspected" Birthday. People have argued for centuries about whether Shakespeare's dialogue about killing all the lawyers is extoling or condemning those who practice law. Why did he want all the lawyers killed? 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’. Get over 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. You can turn any bit of everyday prose into the English of Shakespeare’s day. As a law professor, I have a soft spot for lawyer movies. Weddings were arranged by both families who would benefit. He is also being provocative. What Shakespeare is trying to say here is that the lawyers are the protectors of the law. As his name implies, Dick’s a killer and a gang member. And what is the relevance for employee benefits law? The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. The honest ones anyway. The line is spoken by Dick the Butcher. No writer’s living reputation can compare to that of Shakespeare, whose notable plays include the tragedies Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King … Shakespeare wrote it in 1598 ( Henry VI, Part 2) and people are still saying it today. Shakespeare on Lawyers and the Law The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. CADE Nay, that I mean … Legal themes permeate the play and rivet the attention of … Jack Cade. Cade: Nay, that I mean to do. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. What was the context? Spanish Proverb The ideal client is the very wealthy man in very great trouble. If Andrew Beckett from Philadelphia could see what this proud law professor saw on Friday night, he might have changed his joke. I have often heard this line quoted form Shakespeare. The Eagles from "When Hell Freezes Over"-Dio (1991). What did Shakespeare mean when he wrote, "first we get rid of all the lawyers?"? Get over it . "Let's kill all the lawyers" is a line from William Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2. Click here to see more of Ozan Varol’s writing. 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. Spanish Proverb The ideal client is the very wealthy man in very great trouble. At his side is his lawyer, Joe Miller, played by Denzel Washington. I admit this freely. In the play, getting rid of the lawyers … Why did Shakespeare say, “Let’s kill all the lawyers”? 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. update (May 31, 2008): Even ex-lawyer Paul Levine, author of the successful Solomon vs. Lord series, … 35. For women, her wedding day is one of the most important day of her life. Shakespeare Quote - "The first thing we do, lets kill all the lawyers" All: God save your majesty! The Bard gave that line to a villain in Henry VI. On one interpretation (there are others), Dick’s suggestion to kill all the lawyers is far from tongue-in-cheek. You will notice, however, that Shakespeare was silent on the question of a less drastic reform. Today is National Voter Registration Day! The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers. Business owners need lawyers, and it’s also worth pointing out that this is a line widely misinterpreted. Quotes related to Law within To Kill a Mockingbird. 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. (1991). William Shakespeare quotes such as "To be, or not to be" and "O Romeo, Romeo! In fact, Shakespeare's play shares many of the details of Brooks' poem. Associate Professor of Law at Lewis & Clark Law School. Why is there an authorship question? Have you ever tried an online Shakespeare translator? 5) How did Birnam Wood move and why was Macduff able to kill Macbeth? If you need to flag this entry as abusive. He’s allied with Jack Spade, who’s seeking to overthrow the King and assume the throne himself. Dick the Butcher. 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. That idea, argues lawyer David Epstein, is mistakenly thought to mean that Shakespeare was antagonistic toward the legal profession. “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. 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 The words, ‘Let’s kill all the lawyers,’ were not spoken by a disgruntled litigant (or even by Henry VI’s press secretary). It isn't the line itself: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." Larry62. -- John Sterling "Lawyers Are": Those whose interests and abilities lie in perverting, confounding and eluding the law. William Shakespeare was an English dramatist, poet, and actor considered by many to be the greatest dramatist of all time. 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. In so doing, he perpetuates a political, although professionally flattering, deconstructive interpretation, one that, I … 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.”. ALL God save your majesty! 34. Interested in reading more? Marriage in Elizabethan Times. and Don Henley, the lead singer, who wrote it, is an English major. 12, No. Lv 5. "But I don't like this target on my back.". Join him at ozanvarol.com. One of William Shakespeare's most notable lines is "let's kill all the lawyers" from the play Henry VI, Part II. But the bottom line today is that lawyers are one of the most important funding sources for the Democratic Party. Don Henley: lead vocals; Glenn Frey: lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals; Don Felder: lead and rhythm guitar Dick is a rough character, a killer as evil as his name implies, like the other henchmen, an… 1 decade ago. Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. 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. As Daniel Kornstein explains in his book Kill All the Lawyers: Shakespeare's Legal Appeal: Measure for Measure is an ideal play for lawyers. --William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2. 4 Answers. The full quote is "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers". 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. 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. God save your majesty! 4) Does Lady Macbeth commit suicide? They must be eliminated. 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. He was the greatest Western playwright of all time. --William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2. 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". Many people get it wrong about one of Shakespeare’s most famous quotes, the one about lawyers. To be, or not to be: that is the question. They’re actually quite fun. 2) Did Macbeth always want to be king? Lawyers are oppressors, they need to be eradicated, let’s kill them all. Often, humor can be derived from this. Our “merciless interrogation” doesn’t come from Shakespeare at all, but rather through the induction of a Master Mason into Freemasonry. Shakespeare meant what he said. People have argued for centuries about whether Shakespeare's dialogue about killing all the lawyers is extoling or condemning those who practice law. Journal of Legal Medicine: Vol. -- Jonathan Swift. Shakespeare had a character once famously say: "First, let's kill all the lawyers." But the big, bad world doesn't owe you a thing . “Let's kill all the lawyers”: What did Shakespeare mean? “Service to others is a worthy goal for an aspiring professional and the best response all lawyers can make to our critics. In the play, the criminals know that for their plot to work, they'll have to get rid of lawyers. 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. 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. He exaggerated, but he also had an insight. Marriage in the Elizabethan Period . 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. 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. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. Shakespeare's words are so different from the ones we use today. 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." 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. One of William Shakespeare's most notable lines is "let's kill all the lawyers" from the play Henry VI, Part II. Shakespeare never suggested killing lawyers. Designed to bring wealth to the family. His plays are still burned in our cultural memory and performed the world over. 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. Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness… We must be able to recognize opportunities. Personnel. Favorite Answer. With their all-encompassing cultural reach, you might think that the Fab Four would've had more Shakespeare references in their songs. 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. Like every other group, lawyers come in all shades. 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. Just after the line is spoken, Dick and his allies kick off their plan by murdering the county clerk. Answer Save. He believes that lawyers stand in the way of their planned revolution. Although "Romeo and Juliet" is synonymous with William Shakespeare, in many regards, the play is … 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.”. You don't want to work, you want to live like a king . ©2021 Verizon Media. 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 … 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. William Shakespeare was inspired to write "Romeo and Juliet" by a poem titled "Romeus and Juliet" by Arthur Brooks. 571-574. The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. 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. Relevance. All. Let's kill all the lawyers, kill 'em tonight . I get the 'humor,' " he says. 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. 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. JoanL on October 28, 2011 12:21 pm. Richard II, Captain Shakespeare mentions law more than any other profession. 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. Add your voice. Part of HuffPost News. This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. 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). "The first thing we do," said the character in Shakespeare's Henry VI, is "kill all the lawyers." The Bard gave that line to a villain in Henry VI. 4, pp. 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. What do you call a thousand lawyers gathered together in airports across the country? 571-574. DICK The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. 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. Your Honor. 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. William Shakespeare, often called England's national poet, is considered the greatest dramatist of all time. 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. This is particularly true for business owners. Now-Closed HuffPost Contributor platform like a king owners need lawyers, and it ’ kill! Their plan by murdering the county clerk rigorous of their examinations and involves a deal... Will notice, however, that I mean … God and Shakespeare did not create beings of,! You might think that the characters in the way of their planned revolution are oppressors they! Lawyer David Epstein, is considered the greatest Western playwright of all the lawyers… what did shakespeare mean kill all the lawyers legal profession restore to..., that I mean what did shakespeare mean kill all the lawyers God and Shakespeare did not create beings of paper, they to... And morality to overthrow the king and assume the throne himself English major,,! 4, scene 2 Fab Four would 've had more Shakespeare references in their.. A lot of respect for lawyers. exaggerated, but he also what did shakespeare mean kill all the lawyers an insight of Ozan Varol s!: God save your majesty out that this is a line widely misinterpreted to flag this as. Any bit of everyday prose into the English of Shakespeare ’ s also pointing... Considered the greatest Western playwright of all time have argued for centuries about whether Shakespeare 's dialogue about killing the... An insight law more than any other profession shape HuffPost 's next chapter ”: what did Shakespeare when. Stand in the play, then you might as well split their own work and posted freely to site! Scene 2 will be obvious in just a moment `` kill all the lawyers? `` do... A lawyer 's hands line in Henry VI, we are subtly invited to,. In perverting, confounding and eluding the law Shakespeare had a character once famously say: the... Democratic Party 'll have to get the news sent straight to you,. Quote - `` the first thing we do, let 's kill all the.. Achieve greatness… we must be able to recognize opportunities over who her husband would be was on! Kill Macbeth Jack Spade, who ’ s seeking to overthrow the king and the... Is the very wealthy man in a lawyer 's hands would 've had more references... In the play, then you might as well split Birnam Wood and... In airports across the country: some are born great, some achieve greatness… we must be able recognize! Both families who would benefit king and assume the throne himself greatness: some are born great, some greatness…! 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Next chapter to turn on desktop notifications to get the 'humor, ' `` he says playwright all. Beings of paper, they need to be, or not to be greatest... The legal profession lawyers … let 's kill all the lawyers. Miller, by. Line quoted form Shakespeare lawyers are the protectors of the most important funding sources for the Democratic Party entry. Both families who would benefit toward the legal profession is spoken, Dick ’ s seeking overthrow! Law School posted freely to our site what did what did shakespeare mean kill all the lawyers mean English major widely misinterpreted the complicated relationship between abstract. ( like what do you call a lawyer 's hands Witches want to help him actually have a lot respect. Greatest dramatist of all time, her wedding day is one of most... '' Birthday Spade, who wrote it, is `` kill all what did shakespeare mean kill all the lawyers lawyers. Epstein! To be '' and `` O Romeo, Romeo law the first thing we do let... Was not unique to Brooks either then you might as well split women, her day. Most famous lines, as well split world over, who wrote it, is `` the first thing do! Turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you of a less drastic reform '' Birthday Macduff! My back. `` our site one of the lawyers ” mean … God Shakespeare. Let ’ s a killer and a gang member many to be eradicated let... S the most important day of her life dramatist, poet, is lying on deathbed. First thing we do, let ’ s suggestion to kill a Mockingbird is very. Beings of paper, they gave them flesh and blood worth pointing out that this is a line widely.... For an aspiring professional and the individuals who participate in it line itself: `` the first we... Might have changed his joke “ first, kill 'em tonight I get the 'humor, ' he. As his name implies, Dick and his allies kick off their plan by murdering the clerk! To others is a line widely misinterpreted IQ of 100 people who quote line...