Characters like Hamlet or Macbeth are destroyed by the virtues which lifted them to greatness in the first place. The most remarkable feature of the whole Spitzer debacle, his extreme hypocrisy, is maybe the one characteristic all Shakespearean tragic heroes lack. Macbeth may be a sociopath and Othello may be vicious, but they live out the consequences of their own characters with dignity. Exactly unlike Spitzer. His destruction is far more mundane--the guy who couldn't keep it in his pants.Is Marche right? Think about it.
In this Bloggingheads clip, Bob Wright notes that the "average man" is deterred from using prostitutes out of morality, fear of discovery, or — and this is the most important — anxiety about entering "alien terrain." That is, you don't know how these things work, whether dangerous men might show up and hurt you and so forth. But because Spitzer prosecuted prostitution rings, he became "intimately familiar" with what this "alien terrain" is like. Moreover, in prosecuting these people, he probably gave a lot of thought to how they might have done things a little differently and gotten away with it. Being a smart, arrogant guy, he must have imagined how he would get away with it. It's not surprising, Bob says, that Spitzer behaved irrationally after he penetrated the world of prostitution, but what got him there in the first place? That's the difficult step that separates him from ordinary men. He got there by being a hardcore prosecutor.
Under Bob Wright's theory, doesn't Spitzer meet Marche's standard of Shakespeareanosity? Was he not destroyed by the virtues that lifted him to greatness in the first place?
By the way, at the end of the Bloggingheads clip, Mickey Kaus notes a Dick Morris connection. So if Spitzer really is a Shakespearean tragic hero, then Dick Morris seems to be Lady MacBeth or the ghost of Hamlet's father.
Big thanks to my son John Althouse Cohen for pointing to the way Bob Wright's theory undercuts Marche.
IN THE COMMENTS: Blake nails the Shakespearean point:
If Spitzer were a Shakespearean hero, a la Othello or Hamlet, his primary "virtue"--ruthless pursuit of the law--is what would be his undoing.
So, he'd end up having to prosecute his daughter for some wrongly perceived crime, and then she'd kill herself, and then his wife would go mad, and then he'd kill himself.
Take it back to Ancient Greece (where prostitution was the norm for men, though still disreputable for women), and he'd end up having slept with his daughter. Then Hera would blind him. Or something.