1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Julius Caesar, the Play vs. Historical

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Link the Writer, Mar 16, 2015.

    In honor of the Ides of March (which was yesterday, given) and the fact that Julius Caesar was killed 1,971 years ago on the floor of the Roman Senate, I thought it'd be fitting to make a thread about him. Specifically the play vs. actual history.

    Now, the play as I understand it, portrayed Caesar as a man who believed himself untouchable, that if anything bad was to happen to him, then it was Fate playing a hand. Brutus, for his part, had some difficulty deciding if he needed to murder Caesar out of a perceived idea that he was a threat to Rome. I personally disagree because from what I read in Caesar's actions and words, he came off as a simple leader with an ego natural to his station. And honestly, would you believe an old guy if he randomly went up to you crying out to beware a certain date? Likely not. To sum up my view, the whole thing could've been easily resolved within five minutes had Brutus simply talked with Caesar about his ambitions (and warned him of an assassination attempt.)

    I'm curious as to how the actual historical event matches up to Shakespeare's version of the event. Did Historical!Brutus murder Caesar due to some misguided sense of duty for his nation, out of fear that Caesar was about to become something that would be harmful to Rome? Did Shakespeare faithfully portray Caesar as he was in history, or did he add/subtract certain elements to produce the Caesar we know from the play?

    Discuss!
     
  2. Talisien
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    Talisien Member

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  3. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are we expecting it to be accurate? Dramatisations of historical events are rarely known for their historical accuracy.
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Well, in the Shakespeare play the conspirators had a point. That was Shakespeare's point in writing it it seems. However, as the link that @Talisien provided, the truth is much more complicated than the poetical 'problem' Shakespeare enjoyed employing in his plays. See every other good tragedy the guy wrote for examples of this ambiguity in the Shakespeare cannon (obviously that doesn't include 'Titus Andronicus' because jesus fucking christ).

    Also, it must be remembered that Caesar was not the first roman to invade the Holy City and declare himself Ponti Maximus. Also, Caesar had forged an alliance with Cleopatra - and the whole rivalry with her other lover Marc Antony and Caesar's adopted son Octavian was with Caesar's death only going to descend into a civil war - no matter what the terms of the Treaty of Brundisium was, some serious shit was going to go down anyway. If the second Triumverate (to contradict the above linked article) prepared for the coming civil war then they might have put off Caesar's death for a few years to let him consolidate power. Because as much as the guy was a militaristic genius, he was also apparently a very gifted politician and almost everything he did was extremely popular with the Plebeians. Which is why the Patrician's didn't like him very much after they got past all the military victories.
     
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  5. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Ah, thanks for the clarification. So it turns out the Soothsayer would've been in the know with regards to Roman politics and knew that Caesar's life was in danger.

    Thank you for the link. Very informative and has helped clear up a lot of misconceptions. :)

    What's wrong with Titus Andronicius? :p

    Ah, makes sense. His military campaigns, his victories against the other two Roman generals as well as his alliance with Cleopatra must've done wonders to make his enemies hate him.

    Thanks for the information, you two. Left me with something to think about.
     
  6. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Let's just say some scholars have been trying desperately to argue Shakespeare didn't write it, even though it appears in the First Folio. :p

    Also the problem that she was an ugly bat no one in Rome trusted. :p
     
  7. Mike Hill
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    Mike Hill Natural born citizen of republic of Finland.

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    It isn't nor does it have to be accurate, but bad thing is that people whom aren't in to history get false information.
    Another example would be pyramids. Ou how much annoyance you have caused me Bible!
     

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