Students of Western Civilization would recognize President Donald Trump as acting in the manner of Zeus as found in “The Iliad” by Homer. He has a daughter, Athena or wisdom, a role played by Ivanka and a son Apollo, father of medicine and the sun, played by Donald Jr. Trump’s actions may be seen as uncouth and bullying in the style of Zeus ruling in Olympus. In past weeks he has politically faced the furies of the underworld from where they came. These vengeful fates, muses or “infernal Goddesses” punish man for offenses against their natural order. Tweets or thunderbolts from Zeus in Olympus is interpreted as anger to all. In the political roles within Olympus, the furies spin the thread of life and prophesize how long one will live in modern times to survive impeachment.
Charles Hall, in writing “Grand Strategies, Literature, Statecraft, and World Order” (2010), speaking for diplomats, sees the reading of great literature as a way of understanding the statesmen of the world order. He talked of statesman Paul Nitze who, from Washington, was involved from the dawn of the Atom Bomb to the fall of Soviet Russia in world politics. Nitze would interpret a different play of Shakespeare before each conference or diplomatic interaction, to interpret his opponent’s actions, while erecting America’s place in the world order. Nitze’s success lives on in foreign policy university programs named after him.
Before the 2016 election, I started to use Zeus and other Greek Gods in order to interpret the political actions of President Donald Trump. This allowed me to interpret The Donald as an entertainer and to find his actions irresistible and amusing.
Leonard R. Friedman, MD, Middleton