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If you read any history of Caesar, from Plutarch to wikipedia (folks, do NOT get your history from your Shakespeare, especially not the tragedies, like our current Julius Caesar), at some point, you’re going to run across the concept of the Julian Calendar.
A couple of days back, I discussed the uses of the words “noble” and “(dis)honor(able)” in Julius Caesar, buttressed by findings I made in the concordance over at OpenSource Shakespeare. What prompted me to look up those particular words was not, as you might think, purely because I noticed each appearing so often in the play. No, not each. Rather both. Even in my first reading of the play, I noticed that there were more than a handful of times where the two words were used within the same speech.
What to make of that? Or as Kenan Thompson might sing it on Saturday Night Live, “What up with that?”
Happy Christmas Eve!
You all know I love me a good deep dive into the ol’ concordance, and for Christmas, Julius Caesar has given me some interesting findings.
A couple of weeks back, I used a couple of entries to take a good long look at and a deep dive into Antony’s funeral oration in Julius Caesar, noting that most people would say that speech is the most famous from the play.
I also said at the time, however, that a few folks might pick Brutus’s Act Two, Scene One soliloquy as the most famous in the play instead. Now, I’m not going to say that speech is more famous than the funeral oration. And I’m certainly not going to spend three blog posts on it. But… Let’s take a look at this soliloquy because it is interesting.
Just a couple of quick hits from the deeper dive into Julius Caesar…
Last month, as I started my deeper dive into Julius Caesar, I noted that I was noticing more short, non-antilabe, poetic lines than I remember seeing in the plays earlier in the project.
Now, I haven’t compared Caesar to those earlier plays (haven’t had the time, man!)… but looking at all these short lines–over a hundred by my count–I keep thinking these are clues to the director and actors.
But clues to do what exactly?
With every play, I like to dive into the non-”stage direction” stage directions found both in the dialogue (as I did yesterday) as well as in the meter itself. These can be little signposts for actors and directors alike to use in revealing character, conflict, pacing, etc.
So what does the meter tell us in Julius Caesar? Well, it’s unlike most of what we’ve seen before. As I mentioned last month, there’s a boatload of short verse lines in the play.
With every play, I like to dive into the non-”stage direction” stage directions found in the dialogue, the little signposts for actors and directors alike. Julius Caesar is a slightly different beast, however. In this play, there actually is quite a bit of stage direction, but that’s not to say that there still aren’t some pretty good clues in the dialogue.