Saturday, July 20, 2013

SHAKESPEARE'S RELEVANCE - JULIUS CAESAR

'Yond Cassius has a hungry look; 
He looks too much, such men are dangerous",

these famous lines spoken by Caesar himself  from Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar' sums up the character of Caesar at a time he fears Cassius but feigns courage when he says, 

"I rather tell thee what is to fear'd than what to fear;
 for always I am Caesar" 

and repeats 

"Caesar shall forth; the things that threaten'd me
Ne'er look'd but on my back,when they shall see
The face of Caesar, they are vanished"

And again

"Cowards die many times before their deaths,
The valiant never taste of death but once"

Contrast this with these famous lines from Brutus

"Let not our looks put on our purposes,
But bear it as our Roman actors do,
With untired spirits and formal constancy"

Both Caesar and Brutus were great warriors; both great patriots; both loved their populace more than anyone in the Senate. But the lives of both ended in tragedy. One as he believed in the  loyalty of Brutus and the other as he feared supreme ambition of Caesar is detrimental to the nation.

William Shakespeare who lived between 1564 and 1616 had in his cap many feathers in the form of plays both tragic and comic. He created immortal characters in his plays. I have been mulling since long to contextualize characters in the plays of Shakespeare with the contemporary prominent figures in political, social and religious sectors especially in India. I have a gut feeling these dramatis personea have a larger role in making or breaking the Nation. The greed, ambition,  misplaced courage, conspiracy, indecision, suspicion, oratory skills that can rouse the rabble to revolt et al are seen each day, nay each second, in a country that is not sleeping 24x7. Some events, though they date back to the "Victorian Era" and are alien to India have a great bearing on our lives..

These immortal characters are found in our daily life in every walk of life. I sometimes feel I have a Caesar, a Brutus, a Cassius or an Antony in me. It might be with few others too, though it might be a conjecture. Force of circumstances bring out the many faceted personalities in us, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is not entirely in our hands. But exhibiting traits of one or other of these other personalities with ulterior motives is that should be derided. In my next blog I will discuss some recent developments on the political, societal and religious arena that Shakespeare so poetically presented as part of History.

The best example is one, that of a Regional Satrap, who always felt he was a better ruler than another, his model of development was better, he was the most suited to rule India than be ruled by the purportedly over ambitious but revered leader. Two characters reflect in his character. Cassius and Brutus! 

I shall elaborate in my next blog on this personality trait and the damage it can inflict on the nation. It is lengthy. Do not want to over exhaust all like 24X7 Channels. Please continue to read the next blogs too. They might be interesting.

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