Thursday, March 15, 2007

Beware The Ides of March, or Stab your friend in the back day.

Just so you can sound smart around the water coller this morning, today marks the 2051st anniversary of when Brutus the Backstabber, well, stabbed Julius Caesar in the back.

Et tu, Brute?

Last season, Pioneer Theatre Company put on a production of the Shakespear play Julius Caesar. They set it in more modern times. There were some futuristic visualizations but also some old still cameras from the media. They showed war scenes from Iraq. A member of the media captured the killing of Caesar on camera, which was broadcast later in the play.

And, at Caesar's funeral, Mark Antony, being the politician he is, delivers his speech in front of the cameras, with it broadcast on a video screen behind him, aided by a TelePrompter:

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest—
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men—
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

1 comment:

Rich Warnick said...

HBO's "Rome" wisely omitted the Shakespeare, in their script we never witnessed Mark Antony's funeral oration but only the mob's reaction to it. No point in trying to do something that can't be written any better than it was in 1599.

"Rome" is a great show, and in the "Philippi" episode they finally did the battle scenes the way they ought to be.