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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: February ::
Who Was the Historical Decius Brutus?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0227  Thursday, 3 February 2005

[1]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 2 Feb 2005 18:07:42 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0212 Who Was the Historical Decius Brutus?

[2]     From:   Arthur Lindley <
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        Date:   Thursday, 3 Feb 2005 09:46:35 +0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0212 Who Was the Historical Decius Brutus?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Wednesday, 2 Feb 2005 18:07:42 -0500
Subject: 16.0212 Who Was the Historical Decius Brutus?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0212 Who Was the Historical Decius Brutus?

Cheryl Newton wrote:

 >Hi.  You took me back a few decades.  In my sophomore year of high
 >school, I was intrigued that Shakespeare presented Marcus Brutus as a
 >tragic hero, & Dante put him in the lowest cicrle of hell.

Cheryl Newton and Roger Schmeekle both need to consider the difference
between a hero-in loosely  Arisotelian terms the central figure of an
epic poem-and a protagonist-in those same terms the central figure of a
tragic drama. Shakespeare's protagonists include two murderous usurpers
( I count Richard III because the title-pages of all the quarto versions
of that play call it a tragedy), a filicide/reginacide whose obsession
with his bizarre concept of family honor devastates his family, a pair
of reckless suicidal adolescents, a neurotic manslaughterer and
regicide, an abusive and gullible wife-killer, a politically and
familially irresponsible dotard, a multiply  adulterous demagogue and
his serially promiscuous doxy, and a self-centered traitor.  Brutus is,
indeed, a regicide, and seems to have the lion's share of the
responsibility for the failure of the revolution in whose name the
regicide was carried out; he and most of the others  bring their cities
or nations into jeopardy rather than saving them as heroes are supposed
to do. But that only seems to mean that Shakespeare was interested in
something other than patriotism and ordinary morality.

Tragically,
David Evett

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Arthur Lindley <
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Date:           Thursday, 3 Feb 2005 09:46:35 +0800
Subject: 16.0212 Who Was the Historical Decius Brutus?
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0212 Who Was the Historical Decius Brutus?

Enobarbus in A&C provides a sardonic gloss on Antony's old habit of
weeping over his victims, a habit he seems to have passed on to Octavius.

Arthur Lindley

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