Reviews - What do customers think about Julius Caesar?
Friends, readers, countrymen, lend me your ears! Jul 31, 2003
I come to praise Shakespeare, not to criticize him. The skillful writing that men do lives after them; the sloppy is oft interred with their bones. So let it be with Shakespeare. The great Shakespeare hath told you that Brutus, an honorable man and a friend to Caesar, did conspire in his death: if it were so, it were a difficult thing to imagine, and one would think that a writer would carefully set out the reasons for an action so contradictory to a character's defined nature. Shakespeare gives us only the bare bones of a reason, without providing nearly the developement of this difficult decision that a lesser writer would need to show his character undergoing in order to come to such a decision. But Shakespeare is a great writer, and therefore need not trouble himself with trivialities such as logical development of character, but need only give the reader a general idea of why his characters behave as they do, and the reader will supply the rest from his own imagination, for to do otherwise would be to criticize Shakespeare, and Shakespeare is a great writer. Shakespeare says that Brutus was an honorable man; not only do all his characters say it, but in every way other than the conspiring in Caesar's death, the character shows it by his actions. What would compel an honorable man to take such an action? Shakespeare suggests that it is because he believes it to be for the good of Rome, because Caesar is too ambitious, but he gives us none of the evidence that would convince Brutus of the truth of such a charge. But Shakespeare is a great writer. He hath written many memorable plays, filled with many memorable lines, and surely this is one of them. Yet Marc Anthony, too, is somewhat inconsistent as a character; mostly, he seems an excellent hero, clever enough to give Caesar his due without directly speaking ill of the conspirators, and on the winning and therefore right side in the following civil war. Yet the job he does of inciting the crowd leads to the death of Cinna the poet, and presumably other innocents as well, and he cheerfully and without a moment's thought agrees to the execution of his nephew Publius, apparently as a mere bargaining chit to convince Lepidus to consent to the death of his brother. All on their list were condemned without trial or defense, an action that seems harsh and cruel. But Anthony is a hero, and Shakespeare is a great writer. Anyone who would criticize Shakespeare's handling of his characters must surely be a churl or an illiterate fool, and I have no desire to be listed among such a crowd. The writing of great writers does not have flaws, at least none that can be detected by mere mortals. Let none tell you otherwise: this play is flawless, and Shakespeare is a great writer.
Innovative, student-friendly text suitable for high schools Jun 26, 2002
This review is presented by the general editor of TextWord Press to enable the potential buyer to become aware of the special features in this text. The student-friendly TextWord edition of Shakespeare's classic play of ambition and revenge precludes the need for any supplementary study guides! Our exclusive format includes IN OTHER WORDS segments that "translate" difficult passages into modern English, STAGECRAFT and LANGUAGE ARTS that present explanations of theatrical conventions and further explore Shakespeare's ingenious use of language, and HELPFUL DEFINITIONS that explain archaic words, unusual usages, and clever puns. Included in the text are CHECKQUIZZES, LITERARY CRITIQUES, WRITING and JOURNAL WORKSHOPS, and specially designed exercises on SHAKESPEARE'S LANGUAGE and SHAKESPEARE'S USAGE. Students who conscientiously follow the TextWord format will be well equipped to deal with any literary or language challenges they may face in the future.