Eric Partridge, in his (pretty much indispensable) work on the racy bits of the Bard, Shakespeare’s Bawdy, says of our current play under discussion, Julius Caesar:
- Shakespeare’s Bawdy, Partridge, Eric. New York: Routledge, 2008; pages 55
No lie, Mr. Partridge.
The only bit of anything remotely bawdy I can find happens in the first couple of dozen lines in the play. When the commoners crack wise to the tribunes Flavius and Murellus, the cobbler says,
So, an awl is a long pointy instrument, definitely phallic. In Shakespeare’s day, one of the meanings for meddle was “To have sexual intercourse (with)” (“matter, n.I.4” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2014. Web. 20 November 2014.). And “matter” could be seen as an innuendo for genitals (at least that’s what the footnote in the Pelican Shakespeare edition I’m using states). However, the cobbler says he does NOT meddle with his awl. So that’s pretty thin.
And that’s it. That’s all (awl) I can find.
Needless to say, there will be no “parental discretion advised” podcast for Julius Caesar…
5 Replies to “The Bawdy of Julius Caesar (wait, what bawdy?)”
The “voluntary wound” may also refer to her willing sexual congress with Brutus. The word “thigh” is often a euphemism for the genitals.
Very true, it may… especially since–though it’s not stated in Shakespeare–Portia and Brutus had a child after this point in their history together…she could have been pregnant at this time (which, of course, would not have happened without “sexual congress”).
It’s important to remember, though, in the Plutarch source material, he does go into much greater detail on Portia’s self-injury:
–Lives, Brutus: 29074
How about Mark Antony staying up late the night before Caesar was killed? I presume there was some bawdiness involved there…
You’re right. In the interim, I have found this bawdy bit of double entendre. In Act Two, Scene Two, when the men all arrive at Caesar’s home, he says,
Antony parties all night, but not-with-standing (rim shot).
That was the line I was thinking of…