Addendum: I like the possibilities deriving from Mike’s trio of post-Renaissance evils: proto-protestant, nationalistic Christianity (Joan — see Shaw’s treatment of her), Luddite know-nothing-ism (Cade) and godless, self-centered love of manipulation (Richard). Obviously, all three rise during periods of uncertainty and fear. And, in the 1590s, anxiety was rising in England, and pessimism was growing (anxiety about the aging Queen, the death of Sidney, a series of lousy crops and a recurring plague didn’t help). In some ways, the only direction to go after the defeat of the Armada was down. Late-Renaissance melancholy had reached the north some time after baroque art had peaked in Italy and would be reach full focus, with respect to drama, in plays like Doctor Faustus and, more significantly, Hamlet.
Our own age, driven by every sort of fear-mongering, could be seen in the same way with Fundamentalism, Joe Sixpack, and Dick Cheney running things. Of course, World War II and the over-glamorized fifties are a bit further back than the Armada was for England. Obviously the first person to be got rid of before things can be made whole is Cheney, whom Maureen Dowd always refers to as “Vice” (and, of course, his Chief Puppet). Get the Devil — whether it be Cheney or Richard -- out of there, and there’s hope. Time will re-adjust the other two.
This IS about as glib and superficial as I have stomach for.