The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0348  Wednesday, 1 July 2009

From:       Louis Swilley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Tuesday, 30 Jun 2009 12:47:50 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:    Julius Caesar, 4.3

In "Julius Caesar" 4.3, Brutus is made to realize that although Cassius 
has certainly worked against the interests of the country Brutus loves, 
he is spared the fate Brutus provided Caesar who was killed merely for 
what he *might* have done. The issue is, of course, that the demands of 
friendship trump those of patriotism. (On this distinction, Dante places 
Brutus in the frozen pit of Hell). This is the very center of this play, 
although in the many productions of it I have seen, there have been no 
reactions of Brutus to suggest  that he realizes what he has just 
concluded, nor any directorial evidence apart from that to suggest the 
critical importance of this moment. It seems to me that at least 
Caesar's ghost should appear in a flash *at that moment* and perhaps 
whack Brutus in the head with a large cast-iron skillet. (It does not 
seem sufficient that Caesar's ghost should appear *later* in the scene.)

Does Brutus realize his terrible mistake at this point? If it is 
interpreted that he does not, doesn't that make him look a bit too 
stupid for the dignity of the character? If it is decided that he 
*does*, how are his lines that follow to be delivered to express his 
awareness of what he has done?

If anyone here has seen a production of this play that dealt with this 
scene respecting the problem I note above, I would appreciate learning 
how that was done.

L. Swilley

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