Archive | September 12, 2019

Middelboe Chronicles, Part 64: Julius Caesar

In the most high and palmy state of Rome
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell
The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets

From the periphery of Roman imperial power, in yesterday’s The Miracle Maker, to the epicenter, in today’s Julius Caesar (“Shakespeare: The Animated Tales,” 1994).

The way that Caesar’s cape flaps behind him reminds me of Beowulf’s similarly flapping cape back in Part 1.

Inexplicably, this adaptation changes the manner of Brutus’s and Cassius’s deaths. What happened to “Hold then my sword … while I do run upon it” – which I remember vividly from my old Classics Illustrated comics?

Even before the comics, my first introduction to this play, and to Shakespeare generally, was when my mother bought me a recording (pictured below) of speeches from Julius Caesar and The Tempest. (Oddly, the cover artist seemed to think he was illustrating Midsummer Night’s Dream. I mean, I suppose the chap with wings there could be either Ariel or Puck, but his companion can only be Nick Bottom.) Even without context, and having no idea which side to root for, I was fascinated by the exchange of funeral speeches between Antony and Brutus. (I still am!)

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