Monday, July 22, 2013



SHAKESPEARE'S RELEVANCE - JULIUS CAESAR

PART 2

"What makes Shakespeare England's greatest writer and one of the greatest born in any country, is not simply that he wrote magnificent poetry and plays, but that he understood more about human nature in a thousand and one ways than any one else has done." Quote A.C.Ward

We are back here. The analogy.  Cassius and Brutus in one individual. The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide story's repeat.  Very ambitious. Sincere to the core like Brutus. Has national interest in mind. But, swayed by envy. A capable warrior in the battle for vote.But envious equally like Cassius. Burns with ambition and envy. Chose the wrong path to achieve his goal of political one-up-man-ship.. Result will always be revolt by his perceived followers. Thinks and speaks "Your model; My model" A veteran of many battles. Victory was his USP too. Honest to the core. He too rules by the rule book. A wrong step, time is not too far he is rattled by his own proletariat who loved him, voted him to power and followed him. Nobody called his followers fanatics. The other one is the like of  Caesar in many respects Ambitious to serve the nation. Some say he is ambitious to rule over all, a tyrant like the Caesar in Shakespeare's play. But we don't find this in his character. He concentrates more on governance.Veteran of many battles. Victory is his USP. A patriot to the core. But unlike Caesar,  not arrogant. Speaks his mind without mincing words. No hypocrisy. Loved by fans; some call the fans fanatics. Rules by the rules of the book. Unfazed by meaningless criticism. Feared by the corrupt. Hated by the vanquished or those waiting to be vanquished. The other negative quality that Shakespeare exemplified in Caesar, we don't find in him, misplaced courage. He is circumspect. Takes cautious steps. Listens each; reserves judgment. The story goes. Climax is nearing.

Modern thinkers and historians believe that death of Caesar was a necessary evil, as he was ambitious They see in him a tyrant. An overly ambitious ruler that would have vanquished all, in the words of Cassius, the main conspirator in maiming the would be king,

"... he doth bestride the narrow world,
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves."

In his view the over ambitious Caesar will vanquish them. To Romans the killing of sons of Pompey was sacrilege. He had Pompey's blood on his hand. An analogy can be drawn here, but it is out of context. So he should be vanquished. Brutus, the honorable, too thinks Caesar would ride like a hungry tiger in Roman streets. Hence, he joins the conspirators. He thinks that is the best way. He believes rumors spread by Cassius to the effect.  Both the Brutus and the Cassius in the Regional Satrap forced him to a decision that might destroy him politically sooner than later. Elizabethan thinkers have other theory. Who ever kills a king or king in making is a sinner. He must be eliminated. Caesar was never a king. He refuses the Crown thrice. But, there was a clamor to make him the King. Hence, the conspiracy by those who swear by loyalty to Pompey's blood and bay for the blood of Caesar. An analogy is worth discussing here too, but is out of place. In democracy demolishing anyone politically by unfair means is an equal sin.

The story of these two, metaphorically speaking, the two characters in the one person and the nuanced, modernized, deified character in the other resembles the play "Julius Caesar", by the immortal Shakespeare. At times in the blog, I will quote Shakespeare.

Envy seems the forte of the regional satrap. In his famous play Othello too, Shakespeare deals with it, in addition to suspicion. In Othello Iago says

"....trifles light as air,
Are to the jealous confirmations strong
as proof of holy writ..."

(the envious see even the trifles as Air, as affirmations from the Above).

Great men are no more than ordinary men in the intervals of their public greatness. (sic.) This simple life truth is lost upon the Regional satrap. Both he and his rival would have been a you, a me, a him or a her but for the greatness attributed to them for some great deeds. If he knew it he would have conquered the envy. But, alas! It is not to be. 

"fling away ambition;
By that sin angels fell" King Henry VIII. 

We found this quality in the Regional Satrap of late. It all started all too sudden, just as the play "Julius Caesar" starts. 

It started in a 2010 goof up by both the parties they owe allegiance to. I say it by both because only when two hands join one gets a sound. It is a clap. Given, it is a fact that it was against his wishes that he should share a picture with his bete noir ( it is his own creation), whom he was all approbation in 2003, shared dais with him many a time, all in the name of securing his place at national level and beating his rival in the game of one -up-man-ship, he need not have entertained the idea of demolishing some one politically, in the process committing political suicide. 

Now, coming back to the play "Julius Caesar", it starts on almost the same note.In Act I Scene I  itself, Tribune Marullus rebukes commoners for their gathering in the streets to celebrate victory of Caesar over sons of Pompey, in Spain. Cassius sees in him an over ambitious person. He considers himself equally great. Envy overrides his good sense. He too was a good Roman. There is clamor to make Caesar King. If once her were made King, in the words of Flavius, another tribune and co-conspirator,

"These growing feathers pluck'd from Caesar's wing,
will make him fly an ordinary pitch, 
Who else would soar above the view of men
And keep us all in servile fearfulness."

He is addressing all his followers to remove the 'hoardings' of the images of Caesar from the streets of Rome. The conspirators believe any undue publicity to the victorious Caesar will sway the gullible, sentimental Romans that are undecided, whether to support him for his bravery or oppose him for having blood of Pompey on his hands (by killing his sons),  towards Caesar. Hence, keep him away from public display and subdue his image in the eyes of innocent public! What a strange logic and coincidence to modern day political history of the two giants who did all that is good to the Nation!

To end the second part of my blog, I quote A.C.Ward. "... it would hardly be an exaggeration to say that anyone who really knows Shakespeare's plays and applies the wisdom in them to his or her own life finds them a guide which only the Bible can match"

Note: The Blog continues in a third part and will soon be published. Please keep reading. I invite any comments. Any factual inconsistencies or incorrectness in the history or modern events might kindly be brought to my notice in the comments column, so I can make corrections.

nota bene:  The analogy of the incidents in the play "Julius Caesar to the the present day events is 'superfluous". Conspiracy in the play was to eliminate Caesar from the Scene. In present day democratic process, the aim is to politically maim the opponents to gain upper hand.  So too, qualities attributed to the players on the present day political stage might not physically or morally be applicable to those of the days in history, in totality. The analogy is restricted to those parts that reflect here, some attributes in the two "dramatis personae" and others, they resemble.


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