In a msn conversation with ‘IT Support’ (you should’ve guessed who that is by now!) yesterday, there arose the opportunity to throw in a quote from ole Shaky’s Julius Caesar. In India, where I did my a substantial chunk of my schooling, Julius Caesar was standard reading for about year 11 (circa age 15) or so. I loved it! To this day, there are whole fistfuls (mouthfuls?) of dialogue I can quote offhand. But I think what was most helpful to a kid of my age was the extensive notes at the back of the textbook that performed the necessary introductions, line by line, to the beautiful world of Shakespeare. How else would I understand what was meant by unicorns being betrayed by trees, bears with glasses, elephants with holes, lions with toils and men with flatterers, etc? And what with my teacher reading it aloud (the only way) with me, I grew to enjoy the timing and sense of play, for e.g. when Caesar is being celebrated publicly and Cassius is sounding out Brutus to join the conspiracy,

Brutus: What means this shouting? I do fear, the people
Choose Caesar for their king.
Cassius: –Ay, do you fear it?
Then must I think you would not have it so.

the ‘Ay’ comes in with a jump, because Cassius is eager to literally pounce on a sign from Brutus that he is displeased with Caesar’s growing popularity. Note the metre Shaky employs, Cassius’ first line is meant to fit on the end of Brutus’ last.

There’s a lot of comment on how Brutus is the person we end up liking, and the person who lasts till the end, while Caesar buys it in the 1st scene of Act 3. But JC’s spirit does come visit, and it is true when the critics mention the aura of JC pervading even after his demise. Brutus is my fav, although even Cassius the plotter has good qualities.

But ’tis oft thus said, a man’s best tribute
is one that comes not from friend but from foe (my imitation of Shaky 🙂

Thus spake Anthony on Brutus’ death:-

Anthony: This was the noblest Roman of them all:
All the conspirators save only he
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;
He only, in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world ‘This was a man!

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