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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: February ::
Responses to JC Qs
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0094  Sunday, 1 February 1998.

[1]     From:   Christine Mack Gordon <
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        Date:   Friday, 30 Jan 1998 13:55:30 CST6CDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0091  Q: Julius Caesar

[2]     From:   Bill Liston <
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        Date:   Friday, 30 Jan 1998 15:20:47 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0091  Q: Julius Caesar

[3]     From:   Tonya Beckman <
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        Date:   Friday, 30 Jan 1998 15:23:05 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0091  Q: Julius Caesar

[4]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Friday, 30 Jan 1998 16:04:14 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0091  Q: Julius Caesar

[5]     From:   Eric Salehi <
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        Date:   Sunday, 1 Feb 1998 00:54:45 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Thoughts on _Julius Caesar_


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Christine Mack Gordon <
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Date:           Friday, 30 Jan 1998 13:55:30 CST6CDT
Subject: 9.0091  Q: Julius Caesar
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0091  Q: Julius Caesar

In response to Albert Misseldine's query about Brutus's line in JC, "O
Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb,": the gloss that indicates that
"yoked" means "like" seems illogical to me, especially if you continue
reading-"That carries anger as the flint bears fire, / Who, much
enforced, shows a hasty spark / And straight is cold again." I think
it's quite clear that Brutus is referring to himself, and base this not
only on my reading of the text, but also the fact that I have performed
this scene in the role of Brutus, so did some concentrated thinking
about the character both within this scene and in the play as a whole.

Chris Gordon

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Liston <
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Date:           Friday, 30 Jan 1998 15:20:47 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 9.0091  Q: Julius Caesar
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0091  Q: Julius Caesar

For JC 4.3.110, see note in RIVERSIDE, 2nd ed., which Evans has changed
to lamb: i.e. Brutus.

        Bill Liston

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tonya Beckman <
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Date:           Friday, 30 Jan 1998 15:23:05 EST
Subject: 9.0091  Q: Julius Caesar
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0091  Q: Julius Caesar

<< Specific: Riverside ed. has an unusual gloss on a line of Brutus in
the
 quarrel scene. I always thought "O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb"
 meant Brutus was likening himself to a lamb - slow to anger, etc. But
 Riverside says 'yoked with' means 'like' - so Brutus is comparing
 Cassius to a lamb, not himself. Any comments? >>

My Dover lexicon says that 'yoke' means 'to couple, to join,' and cites
that line from JC.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Friday, 30 Jan 1998 16:04:14 -0500
Subject: 9.0091  Q: Julius Caesar
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0091  Q: Julius Caesar

Albert Misseldine wants comments on *JC*.  The play tends to fall into
two halves (Rome, full of political business and intrigue and spectacle,
with interest distributed over many personages and issues, and the
battlefield, with a pretty tight focus on Brutus and Cassius), and
productions I've seen tend to do one half better than the other.

David Evett

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Eric Salehi <
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Date:           Sunday, 1 Feb 1998 00:54:45 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Thoughts on _Julius Caesar_

<<we are putting on JC this spring at our college, the director wants to
do
it in modern (30's) dress, and we would welcome any hints, suggestions,
pitfalls to avoid, etc.>>

Orson Welles' famous Mercury Theatre production (1937) drew upon the
theme of impending fascism to construct a show that, according to critic
John Mason Brown, revitalized the play for the American stage.  Since
you're also using a 1930's setting, you might well consider how apt that
theme is to contemporary politics.  I'm not suggesting that you play
your vision off of Welles', I just think the Mercury production might
provide some interesting ideas about the play's political ethos.

Mark Rose makes some interesting points about the play's rituality in
his article "Conjuring Caesar: Ceremony, History and Authority in 1599,"
ELR 19:3 (1989), 291-304.  Rose raises some good questions about the
degree to which politics, ritual and theatricality intersect in the
play.  A production of JC mounted in these media-driven days could
acquire considerable depth by undertaking these issues.

I think that your take on Brutus is very well founded (though I should
admit that Cassius is an old role of mine, and I'm somewhat biased).  By
far the most interesting and complex interpretations of JC I've
encountered are those that acknowledge Brutus' tendency toward virtuous
posturing, occasionally to the point of hypocrisy.  For instance, more
than one critic has pointed out that in the quarrel scene, Brutus first
accuses Cassius of accepting bribes, and then rebukes him for not
sharing campaign funds.  Clearly, "the noblest Roman of them all"
expects Cassius to do his dirty work.

I'm inclined to think that Brutus is referring to himself in the "yoked
with a lamb" line, but in performance, the line could be instilled with
considerable irony: Brutus' transition from hot to cold is indeed
interesting in light of his over-Stoicized response to Portia's death.

-- Eric Salehi
 

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