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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: October ::
Friends, Romans, Countrymen
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1707  Thursday, 6 October 2005

[1] 	From: 	Joseph Egert <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 04 Oct 2005 20:28:03 +0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1693 Friends, Romans, Countrymen

[2] 	From: 	Steve Sohmer <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 4 Oct 2005 16:55:36 EDT
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1693 Friends, Romans, Countrymen

[3] 	From: 	David Evett <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 5 Oct 2005 16:39:58 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1693 Friends, Romans, Countrymen


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Joseph Egert <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 04 Oct 2005 20:28:03 +0000
Subject: 16.1693 Friends, Romans, Countrymen
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1693 Friends, Romans, Countrymen

Alan Jones suggests Octavius does not willingly join Antony in cynically 
paring down Caesar's bequests to the plebs, as "He [Octavius] remains 
silent when Antony proposes reducing its scale..."
I believe silence in this instance clearly implies consent, regally 
granted by the new Caesar on the block, "You may do your will." 
Interestingly, both Antony and Lepidus were JC's equine errand boys as 
"magister equitum." They were all Caesar's creatures.

Tony Burton claims "Shakespeare chose NOT to invoke the religious 
context that would have been created by mention of Antony's and Caesar's 
religious titles and functions."

To this beholding eye, the context of the trag-edy is clearly religious 
with Caesar as the ritual blood sacrifice prefiguring, possibly as 
antitype, the Christian drama.

Regards,
Joe Egert

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Steve Sohmer <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 4 Oct 2005 16:55:36 EDT
Subject: 16.1693 Friends, Romans, Countrymen
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1693 Friends, Romans, Countrymen

Dear Skeptical Joe Egert (and Friends),

Well, I went back and reread a little Roman history -- and dug through 
my Thesaurus Linguae Romanae et Britannicae (1565), and here's where I 
come out.

1. Yeah, maybe Shakespeare was thinking about 'honoris' in the second 
Philippic ... I could be swayed on that. But I still like 'piussissimus' 
(just because it looks so funny on the page.) I particularly like 
'honoris' in the sense of 'respectable.'

2. Brutus made a priest after Pharsalus -- maybe, but I can't find that. 
Sent to Cisalpine Gaul, yes. Priest, hm.

3. Even confederates who were present at Caesar's assassination could 
hardly be expected to note and remember who made which cut in Caesar's 
mantle. I think we can all see that Antony is speaking hyperbolically 
here as elsewhere in the speech. Shakespeare had to know his Plutarch 
pretty good to make Antony such a clever liar.

4. On the patrimony of Brutus. When Brutus stabbed Caesar, Caesar cried 
out in Greek, "You, too, my son?" (Suetonius).

Has anyone noticed that 15 March -- the Ides of March -- is the Feast of 
Longinus, the centurion who lanced Christ on the cross, and whose sight 
was cured of incipient blindness by the touch of His blood (in the 
Legenda Aurea)? Cassius' full name was Gaius Cassius Longinus. Think 
Shakespeare could have missed that?

Hope this helps,
Steve

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Evett <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 5 Oct 2005 16:39:58 -0400
Subject: 16.1693 Friends, Romans, Countrymen
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1693 Friends, Romans, Countrymen

 >"Though I agree with much of what David Evett says, the text doesn't
 >support his view that Octavius "is seen scheming to withdraw" Caesar's
 >legacy to the plebs. He remains silent when Antony proposes reducing its
 >scale. . .
 >
 >Incurring the resentment of the plebs whom his adoptive father had so
 >sedulously courted would indeed be a "mischief" to Octavius' assumption
 >of power" (Alan Jones).

I said "seen," not heard. It seems to me here that silence on this score 
implies consent. In the dynamic of the play the plebs lose all 
significance the moment they've driven the conspirators from the city-no 
further appearances, no mention in the text, by anybody. It may be, to 
be sure, that I'm feeding back into my image of Octavius his more fully 
developed form in *Ant*; I've argued elsewhere that as Caesar he enacts 
and articulates an essentially commodified view of things, an early 
modern version of our modern focus on "the bottom line"-in which the 
welfare of the plebs has no place.

David Evett

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