o89. Julius Caesar

At a rate of one Shakespeare play a week, my last semester as an undergraduate definitely isn’t easy (that’s just for one out of 6 modules I’m taking). Am owing it to Literature that I’m really enjoying this sem – am reading non-fiction for academic purposes and getting my As way more frequently than I do in psychology. Why didn’t I major in literature?!

Read Julius Caesar for class. Political problem plays fascinate me in a way comedies never do. Somehow the magic of comedies lose their charm when coupled with annoying side-characters, I’m always more bothered by their stupidity instead of laughing at them.
Can people really be so genuinely slapstick funny? Or are they masking motives under their flapping veils, occasionally showing the world their true faces – only if you catch it in spurts of split-seconds?
To me, Shakespeare’s jesters are so two-faced.

Which contributes to my admiration for this amazing playwright who can conjure characters who still resonate so many centuries after their creator have passed on.

Julius Caesar is a hero in so many people’s eyes despite the absoluteness and egocentricity of his monarchy. To quote Frederick Boas, “infirmities of the dictator in flesh are merely foil to his irresistible might when set free from physical trammels”. Caesar is assassinated by conspirators which included one of his most loyal friends -Brutus; nothing so kills him until Brutus’s final stab. I’m all for the fact that this is an Elizabethan Revenge Play, Caesar was noble, his dictatorship may be questioned from time to time but things worked despite his highness not being crowned yet.

After Caesar’s death midway through the play, he is immortalized in a spiritual sense. His physical body diminished but his name lived on, magnified a million times, exemplifying the undying spirit of history against those who rebelled and ended his rule. The conspirators receive their just desserts by being killed or forced to commit suicide with the same swords (well, some did) that killed Caesar. At this point in time I almost laughed in relief. The twist came when Brutus clashed with Cassius. Especially when Cassius was forced to undergo semi-repentance.
I wonder…it must have been a very Roman thing to want to be noble like Caesar. But not everybody has the intellectual, emotional, and mental capacities to be like him. Isn’t that why he is enthroned? Some people never learn.

There can never be a single unifying approach to truths, Caesar’s conspirators died with the very same notions that led them to killing Caesar. Divergent, contradictory and relative truths…which one do you subscribe to? I don’t believe in unifying the play, nor making excuses that Cassius nor Brutus, in killing Caesar, was doing the public any good. They each had noble intentions that didn’t turn out the way it ought to be. Decisions and actions, therefore must be given more than a couple of thoughts before the wrong move is made. Some of which can never be redeemed and must be paid for with their lives as did Cassius, Brutus and company.

Shakespeare’s radius of thought lives on in modernity and will for the eternity whether we like to admit it or not.

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