Julius Caesar Funeral Orations, Part One: Brutus

In the aftermath of the assassination of the titular Julius Caesar, there are back-to-back funeral speeches by Brutus and Antony. Over the next few entries, we’ll take a look at them both.

First up, Brutus.

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One Last Prose/Poetry Thing…

So yesterday, we discussed the prose-to-poetry transitions in As You Like It, and I mentioned that correlation I found was that the concept of power was what brought about the shift to verse: the Dukes, the eldest son, the man who made the woods his domain… and of course, the lovelorn.

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As You Like Prose and Poetry

We’ve discussed prose and poetry many times before in this project. I don’t know if it’s because this is the first play back after the long break for me or what, but this play, As You Like It, feels different.

Maybe it’s all the songs. Or Orlando’s doggerel. Or the seemingly haphazard shifts between the prose and the verse.

It just feels…


We’re nearly 370 lines (and a scene and a half) into the play before we get a line of poetry. Then, at the end of that scene, we’re back to prose. But then halfway through the next scene (Act one, Scene three), we go back into the poetry again, and it’s another four scenes before we get any prose.

Fits and Starts.

We’ve been told to expect verse in the court, yet neither Orlando or Oliver, nor Rosalind or Celia talks in poetry when we meet them there. We would expect the rural rustics to be all prose, all the time. However, Corin and Silvius are speaking in blank verse when we meet them.

I just can’t get a handle on this…

Of Prose and Poetry

At 88 percent, The Merry Wives of Windsor has more prose than any other play we’ve read thus far in the Canon. And it’s not even close: second place was just two months ago with The Second Part of Henry the Fourth, and that one had just over a half of its lines in prose.

Just as that play took place mostly in the lower classes of Falstaff’s crew, this play, too, follows Falstaff. Only here, he has jettisoned (for the most part) his low followers, and he aims to work (or screw) his way into the upper class.
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Language: Verse versus Prose

Throughout the Project, we’ve discussed the use of prose and how it differs from the use of verse.  We’ve discussed the use of verse for heightened language and prose for the more mundane (the more, well, prosaic), and of course there’s always that nobility = verse//commoners = prose thing.

But how does it work within The Two Gentlemen of Verona?
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Academic Lovers as Poets: Who Makes the Grade?

In Love’s Labor’s Lost, our four male protagonists begin the play swearing to spend the next three years in academic study.  Within hours, they have forsworn that oath, and have picked up pens to swear their loves to the members of the newly arrived French party.  Let’s takes the men in their initial roles as students, and grade them in their next roles as poets.
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Prose (I’m not so sure about this play, Part One)

There’s quite a bit of prose in The Taming of the Shrew… almost 21% of the play (even if you removed the Sly framing device, the percentage of prose goes down only .14%, with the total still rounded up to 21%).  This is nearly twice as much prose as was employed in The Comedy of Errors.
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Looking for the Rational Rationale (or You can’t have your poetry until you’ve eaten your prose)

Yesterday, we asked why Shakespeare chose to rhyme over 20% of the total lines of The Comedy of Errors (over 23% of the poetic line count).

wow, that’s an awful title…

Today, why are roughly 235 lines of the play in prose?
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