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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: March ::
Re: Caesar's Will
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0230  Tuesday, 17 March 1998.

[1]     From:   Louis Swilley <
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        Date:   Saturday, 14 Mar 1998 08:43:48 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 9.0221  Q: Caesar's will

[2]     From:   Eric I. Salehi  <
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        Date:   Monday, 16 Mar 1998 14:26:10 EST
        Subj:   Re:   SHAKSPER Digest - 12 Mar 1998 to 13 Mar 1998

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis Swilley <
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Date:           Saturday, 14 Mar 1998 08:43:48 -0600
Subject: 9.0221  Q: Caesar's will
Comment:        RE: SHK 9.0221  Q: Caesar's will

Considering the time-shortening techniques Shakespeare frequently
employs, it is certainly possible that Antony has had "time" to get a
copy of the will.  His position as a senator and Caesar's public
position could be construed as ample reasons for the availability of the
will to Antony, or to any other comparably lofty figure in the
government.  However, the issue here is not whatever is historically
accurate but what is formally sound.  Alone, after his inflammatory
speech to the crowd, Antony tells us he will "unleash the dogs of war."
I would say that, opportunist that he essentially is, he has had this in
mind ever since he was called by the senators to view the body of
Caesar.  Consonant with this - and with his brutal, self-serving
character to be elaborated shortly in the next scene -  would be his
having here duped the illiterate public with any piece of paper, perhaps
a scroll drawn from a nearby "newsstand".  Or some such directorial
invention to make the effective point.

Like any good playwright, Shakespeare was not so much interested in
being true to history as we was in building characters for a larger,
timeless argument.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Eric I. Salehi  <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 16 Mar 1998 14:26:10 EST
Subject:        Re:   SHAKSPER Digest - 12 Mar 1998 to 13 Mar 1998

In a message dated 3/13/98 11:47:07 PM, Albert Misseldine
<
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wrote:

<<Last evening the question(s) of Caesar's will came up. Like a lot of
other things, it seemed clear until we thought about it. Here are some
questions we need help with. Does Antony have the real will with him as
he talks to the crowd, or is he just waving a blank piece of
paper?....>>

As I recall, Joseph McCarthy's infamous list of "Communist spies in the
State Department" was actually a laundry list.  I think of Antony's will
as being much the same sort of list, pulled out of a hat with exactly
the same brand of political acumen.
 

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