Trump foreshadowed by
ten famous playwrights

A compilation of plays that invoke characteristics of the 45th U.S. president

By Byron Toben

Regular WestmountMag readers may have observed that I have, from time to time, compared some of President “Cry Baby” Trump’s actions to those foreshadowed by famous playwrights.

(I call him “Cry Baby”, not to disrespect the office, but for four years he has demeaned almost everybody with insulting nicknames so on the eve of his probably chaotic departure it is only fair to respond in kind.)

This cumulative list starts with ancient Sophocles and ends with Alan Bennett of Beyond The Fringe fame.

Readers are invited to submit other playwrights they feel should be added, citing the relevant play(s), characters or passages.

Each entry highlights the play(s) invoked or character, or passage therein that is apropos. Seven authors are listed for one of their plays, Shaw has two, and Shakespeare, a full seven.

Readers are invited to submit other playwrights they feel should be added, citing the relevant play(s), characters or passages.

Sophocles (496 BCE – 406 BCE)

King Creon not only threatened to “lock her up” but did so.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Titania and Bottom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Image: Edwin Henry Landseer, Public domain

William Shakespeare (1564 -1616)

Midsummer Night’s Dream
Bottom wants to take all roles as no one is better than him in each.

Julius Caesar
Beware of the Ides of March
Rumour thou art afoot.

Mac Beth
Disposal of rivals
Sound and fury signifying nothing.

Richard III
Disposal of rivals
False piety on balcony to staged audience

As You Like It
Seven stages of man, second childhood

King Lear
Flattery will get you everywhere.

A Comedy of Errors
The title says it all.

Pedro Calderon (1600-1681)

Life is a Dream
Fantasy confused with reality

Molière (1622-1673)

False piety masking hypocrisy.

Hendrik Ibsen (1828-1906)

Enemy of the People
Declaring dissenters to be such.

G. Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

The Doctor’s Dilemna
Who should get the vaccine first?

On the Rocks
Politicians pandering to unruly mobs.

Kung Ubu (1964)

Kung Ubu (1964) – Image: courtesy Camden Art Centre © Themerson Estate, London

Alfred Jarry (1873-1903)

Ubu Roi
Absurdity leading to madness of king.

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)

The Threepenny Opera
Unruly mobs threaten establishment.

Eugene Ionescu (1900-1994)

Ugliness transformed into conformity by mass marches.

Alan Bennett (1934- )

The Madness of King George III
Madness of king leading to absurdity.

The Sweet 16 Sweepstakes

I was hoping to include some of my own faves – Anton Chekov, Eugene O’Neil, Arthur Miller, Clifford Odets – but could not think of a specific enough example.

Successful suggestion submitters get their 16 minutes of fame in WestmountMag and if they are themselves a produced playwright, a big $16 CDN from me. Send your suggestions to, or by commenting below, before or by the deadline of 5 pm EST, January 16, 2021.

Feature image: The Madness of King George III, courtesy of MGM

Bouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre –

More articles from Byron Toben

Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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