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Julius Caesar Mass Market Paperback – Aug 1 1998
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One of Shakespeare's most political plays, Julius Caesar continued Shakespeare's interest in Roman history, first developed in Titus Andronicus. Drawing on Plutarch, the great historian of Rome, Shakespeare dramatises one of the most crucial moments in Roman history--the assassination of Julius Caesar. Loved by the Roman crowd but increasingly feared by the Senators, Caesar increasingly shows signs of his desire to abolish the Republic and crown himself emperor. A conspiracy is hatched, led by Cassius and Brutus, who murder Caesar on the steps of the Capitol. Mourning over his dead friend's body, Mark Antony gives one of the famous rhetorical speeches in literature, asking "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" to lament Caesar's death, privately vowing to "let slip the dogs of war" against those who have shed Caesar's blood. Antony joins forces with Caesar's son Octavius to defeat Cassius and Brutus in battle, and establish an uneasy alliance whose collapse is dramatised in Shakespeare's later play Antony and Cleopatra. Written at the end of Queen Elizabeth's reign, Julius Caesar has been seen by many as a radically pro-Republican play which sailed close to the political wind of the time. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-One of the marks of Shakespeare's greatness is the continued interest in adapting his enduring works. This recording of Julius Caesar is one in a series drawn from Leon Garfield's Shakespeare Stories. Liberally sprinkled with lines from the original play, the recording presents a condensation of all five acts in a little more than an hour. Beginning with a brief biography of the Bard, the recording then offers a thorough but not lengthy overview of the play. All this sets the stage for Simon Russell Beale's well paced narration. This Royal Shakespeare Company veteran moves so skillfully between story text and dialogue that at times it seems as though there are several actors reading. Classic lines such as "Et tu. Brute" and "Friends, Romans, Countrymen " are rendered with fresh vigor. At the conclusion of the play, an article on "Shakespeare Today" offers suggestions to help youngsters have fun with Shakespeare. Short selections of period music make a nice transition between sections of the recording. Though aimed at a middle school audience, both teens and adults will find this presentation a good way to learn about one of the earliest plays performed at the Globe Theatre.
Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Julius Caesar is returning to Rome in triumph, only to be stopped by a strange old soothsayer who warns him, "Beware the ides of March." Caesar brushes off the warning, but he has no idea that a conspiracy is brewing under his nose. In a nutshell, a group of senators led by the creepy Cassius are plotting against Caesar because of his wild popularity, suspecting that he wants to become KING.
And Cassius' latest target: Brutus, one of Caesar's best buddies. Brutus is slowly swayed over to the conspiracy's side, beginning to believe that Caesar as a great man corrupted by power. Everything comes to a a devastating assassination on... guess when... the ides of March, which will elevate some men to greatness and destroy others.
Though the story is supposedly about Julius Caesar, Caesar himself only has a few scenes -- but his charismatic, dominating presence hangs over the play like a heavy tapestry. What he does, what he plans, what he thinks and who he is are constantly on people's minds, and even after his death he is a powerful presence in the memories of the living.
And Shakespeare cooks up a dialogue-heavy play that is a bit on the slow side, but whose speeches are so powerful and intense that you don't quite notice.Read more ›
The main character is, of course, Julius Caesar, and this play tells us about his assassination. The plays also highlights how those who survived him tried to earn the approval of the fickle plebeians. In my opinion, one of the best scenes is that in which Brutus, and then Mark Anthony, speak to the plebeians. Brutus, depicted as an idealistic man that loved Caesar but feared his ambitions, stands by his actions and seems to be respected for taking a stand on behalf of the republic. However, soon enough Anthony starts his eulogy to Caesar, pointing out that Caesar cared for Rome above everything and that he had remembered the people of Rome in his testament. As a result of Anthony mastery of words, the plebeians turn their back on Brutus, and start a riot.
Truth to be told, "Julius Caesar" doesn't end there, but that scene is a turning point in the story, and perhaps more importantly, an excellent way to realize that words can be as dangerous as weapons, when wielded with expertise.
All in all, I can say that I liked this play. Yes, it is true that it is not overly easy to read, due to the fact that the language in which it is written is quite dated, but you can always buy a reading companion to "Julius Caesar", or an edition with good footnotes. And even though Shakespeare's English isn't "your" English, I think you will manage!
In my opinion, you should try to overcome that small inconvenient. The reasons for that are at least two. First, the story is interesting. Secondly, it is always a good idea to remember how important a good mastery of language is, and this play helps you to do exactly that. On the whole, recommended!
In historical actuality, Caesar's murder was in some ways the pivot around which Rome transformed from a republic into an empire, and the play, which Shakespeare bases faithfully on Plutarch's histories, is ultimately about the political struggle that drives this transformation. The main conspirator against Caesar, and the one to deal him the final blow, is Brutus, who foresees nothing but tyranny if Caesar is made a king. There is something atavistic about his attitude, for he is descended from the family that was instrumental in turning the kingdom of Rome into a republic five centuries earlier.
The scenes leading up to Caesar's murder build with forceful tension.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This is one of Shakespeares most famous plays. I was required to read this play for school and I found that it was best when it was read aloud than when I read it too myself. Read morePublished on June 19 2004
I loved "Romeo and Juliet", "Hamlet" and other Shakespeare novels, so I thought that I might try a history Shakespeare had written for my advanced English class. Read morePublished on Dec 8 2003
When it comes to Shakespeare, there really isn't a discussion about how good the play is...they are all fantastic and are all worth devoting time to read. Read morePublished on Sept. 22 2003
Julius Caesar was a play of epic proportions. Even though much of it was drawn out and needed more action, other parts were emotionally inspirational and uplifting. Read morePublished on June 4 2003 by amy
The book Julius Caesar was a very interesting and good book. Although the language was hard to understand in the beginning, you end up getting used to it and the book basically... Read morePublished on May 29 2003 by sally morrow
A while back, a friend of mine and I decided to pick a Shakespeare play every couple months, read it, then get together and discuss it. Read morePublished on May 27 2003 by C. Fletcher
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