Wayne's Reviews > Romeo Y Julieta/Julio Cesar

Romeo Y Julieta/Julio Cesar by William Shakespeare
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M_50x66
's review
Oct 06, 12

bookshelves: plays
Recommended to Wayne by: the play itself
Recommended for: language lovers
Read from November 07 to 21, 2009, read count: thrice

** spoiler alert **

"I can't see what's so great about Shakespeare!!
It's riddled with cliches."

This, probably apocryphal response to reading Shakespeare, is probably NOT apocryphal, because it does appear to be that way.
During Shakespeare's lifetime it appears that about 30,000 new words entered the English language, and the Bard himself was, not surprisingly, a major contributor.
The cliches referred to above were original when he wrote them, and because they were effective, were adopted and woven into the texture of our daily converse. Five hundred years later, still familiar, but perhaps a trite stale, their primary source forgotten, it is healthy and a revelation to rediscover how one play could be packed with so many titbits, delicious to the ear and set in their original context.

For my own amusement and interest I decided to make this review a list of cliches and other pieces that appealed to me personally.
A new production of "Julius Caesar" was on in Sydney at the Wharf Theatres on the harbour; and performed by a new group: Cry Havoc - Australian Theatre for Young People "committed to the daring re-working of the great classsic texts for the contemporary stage."
Yipeeee!!! The old and the new stirred into an explosive mix!!!
"Double, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble!!!!"
Couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks, Will!!!

ACT I.Sc.i
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things.
* Marullus the tribune chiding the holidaying Roman workers.

ACT I.Sc.ii
Beware the Ides of March.
* Soothsayer to Caesar.

ACT I.Sc.ii
Brutus, I do observe you now of late;
I have not from your eyes that gentleness
And show of love that I was wont to have;
You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
Over your friend that loves you.
* Cassius to Brutus

ACT I.Sc.ii
But let not therefore my good friends be grieved
(Among which number, Cassius, be you one)
Nor construe any further my neglect
Than that poor Brutus, with himself at war,
Forgets the shows of love to other men.
* Brutus to Cassius

ACT I.Sc.ii
Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius,
That you would have me seek into myself
For that which is not in me.
* Brutus to Cassius

ACT I.Sc.ii
Therefore, good Brutus, be prepared to hear;
And since you know you cannot see yourself
So well as by reflection, I, your glass
Will modestly discover to yourself
That of yourself which you yet know not of.
* Cassius to Brutus

ACT I.Sc.ii
Set honour in one eye and death i' th' other,
And I will look on both indifferently;
For let the gods so speed me, as I love
The name of honour more than I fear death.
* Brutus to Cassius

ACT I.Sc. ii
Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
* Cassius of Caesar

ACT I. Sc.ii
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves that we are underlings.
* Cassius to Brutus

ACT I.Sc.ii
Let me have men about me that are fat,
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep a-nights.
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.
* Caesar of Cassius

ACT I.Sc.ii
Would he were fatter.!But I fear him not.
Yet...
* Caesar of Cassius

ACT I.Sc.ii
...but for my own part, it was Greek to me.
* Casca of Cicero's speaking in Greek,
now used metaphorically.


ACT II.Sc.i
And there think him as a serpent's egg
Which hatched, would as his kind grow mischievous,
And kill him in the shell.
* Brutus to himself

ACT II.Sc.i
Since Cassius did first whet me against Caesar,
I have not slept.
Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma , or a hideous dream.
The genius and the mortal instruments
Are then in council, and the state of a man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.
* Brutus to himself.


ACT II.Sc.i
Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily.
Let not our looks put on our purposes,
But bear it as our Roman actors do..
* Brutus to his fellow-conspirators

ACT II.Sc.ii

CALPURNIA: When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of
princes.
CAESAR: Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear,
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.

ACT III.Sc.i
Et tu, Brute? Then fall Caesar. Dies.
* Caesar after being stabbed by Brutus.

ACT III.Sc.i
CASSIUS: ...How many ages hence
Shall this our lofty scene be acted over
In states unborn and accents yet unknown.

BRUTUS: How many times shall Caesar bleed in sport,
That now in Pompey's basis lies along
No worthier than the dust.
* Cassius and Brutus reflect on the future staging
of their historic assassination.

ACT III.Sc.i
Mark Antony shall not love Caesar dead
So well as Brutus living.
* Servant reporting to Brutus Antony's avowed response
if the assassins can justify their crime.

ACT III.Sc.i
The choice and master spirits of this age.
* Antony to Brutus and Co. somewhat cynically.

ACT III.Sc.i
Cry "Havoc" and let slip the dogs of war.
* Antony predicts the carnage to come

ACT IV.Sc.ii
...Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.
...As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate,
I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him; but
as he was ambitious , I slew him.
* Brutus justifies the assassination to the Roman
populace.
ACT IV.Sc.ii
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones.
* Antony begins to undermine Brutus


And Brutus is an honourable man
* Antony's cynical refrain to destroy Brutus


This was the unkindest cut of all
* Antony describes Brutus' death blow

ACT IV.Sc.iii
There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood,leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries'
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
* Brutus to Cassius, before the battle

ACT IV.Sc.iii
This was the noblest Roman of them all.
..."This was a man."
* Antony's eulogy over Brutus



























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message 1: by Al (new)

Al Bità What a pleasure to read the quotes from Shakespeare!

Your comments re the influence of Shakespeare on our language are appropriate, but my cynicism about today's audiences makes me suspect that it will merely serve to convince them that he is 'old hat'... or am I being too critical?

I have always felt that modern society is perhaps on the verge of dismissing Shakespeare; and there is a sense that some of the phrasings and grammatical turns may be just too 'difficult' for the modern mind... Will he become relegated to the historical dustbin of literature, to be 'studied' only by esoterics or academics, much like one might study Old English, or perhaps even Spenser or Chaucer? Maybe not, but sad, if this is what we must accept...

My fear of this happening had often left me wondering whether some sensitive paraphrasing of the originals might not stem the tide; an idea which apparently shocks the purists among us. But my argument is that many producers of Shakespeare's plays feel no qualms about eliminating huge slabs of the work which they feel are irrelevant for a modern audience. My proposal would be that sometimes, the words may need to be 'explicated' using more modern terminology. Thus your third quote, for example:

"Brutus, I do observe you now of late;
I have not from your eyes that gentleness
And show of love that I was wont to have;
You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
Over your friend that loves you. "

might possibly be rendered:

"Lately, Brutus, I've noticed that you no longer seem to show me that gentleness and love I used to see in your eyes. I'm your friend, and I love you, but you now seem far too stubborn and strange towards me."

Trouble is, one loses the 'poetry' of the original; but maybe the 'sense' could make people rethink the subject of the play, and perhaps also send them back to the original with new insights... But I fear I might be barking up the wrong tree...

Perhaps you first quote ( un-'translated') can be the only appropriate response to the masses:

"You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things."

Ultimately one can only be awed and immensely grateful for Shakespeare. And as you proclaimed: "Thanks, Will!"




message 2: by Kalliope (new)

Kalliope Al wrote: "What a pleasure to read the quotes from Shakespeare!

Your comments re the influence of Shakespeare on our language are appropriate, but my cynicism about today's audiences makes me suspect that it..."


Have you seen Al Pacino's version on Richard III: "Looking for Richard",

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116913/.

He addresses some of the issues you raise.


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