The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

Book - 2000
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Brutus, best friend of the Roman ruler Caesar, reluctantly joins a successful plot to murder Caesar and subsequently destroys himself. Includes notes and an introduction.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2000.
ISBN: 9780140714685
Characteristics: xlvi, 114 p. ; 20 cm.
Additional Contributors: Montgomery, William


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Sep 23, 2015

The play could easily have been titled The Tragedy of Marcus Brutus, since Caesar is slain early in Act III, and the rest of the play sees the tragic circumstances and events that lead to the downfall of Brutus and his co-conspirators.
The play is filled with many memorable lines, none more so than Antony's funeral speech with the opening lines, “Friends, Romans, countrymen; lend me your ears. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.”
Here, he is acknowledging the crowd as his peers and says he has no motives besides burying Caesar. In this pivotal scene, Antony performs a masterful feat: He manages to turn the crowd against the conspirators.
Antony's words about Caesar and Rome move the crowd to such an emotional frenzy the downfall of the conspirators is clearly on the horizon.
Yet, in the final scene of the play, and in the wake of Brutus' suicide, Antony gives Brutus's eulogy: “This was the noblest Roman of them all....”
His previous doubts cast aside, Antony submits that Brutus' motives were pure, and that his concern was for the Roman Republic, unlike the other conspirators. He was a true statesman. Of all the conspirators, Brutus was the only one to believe Caesar's death was for the good of all; everyone else acted out of jealousy.
I enjoyed this play as much as any play of Shakespeare's plays I have read. As much I enjoyed reading the play, however, I thought throughout how much better it would be see the play performed live on stage, for this truly is a play to be performed.

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