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5.0 out of 5 stars Roman political intrigue meets Elizabethan drama
Not much is more sensational than the assassination of a major public figure; reading Act 3, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," in which the title character is stabbed and hacked to death by half a dozen conspirators, I feel like I'm depriving myself of a thrilling theatrical spectacle that must be seen to be appreciated. It is not necessary to know much...
Published on Oct. 27 2003 by A.J.

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3.0 out of 5 stars Julius Caesar
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 flows. I liked this book because it was very historical and interesting. One reason I did not like this book is because it did not give enough detail as to what was going on at a particular time...
Published on May 29 2003 by sally morrow


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4.0 out of 5 stars Words can be as dangerous as weapons, when wielded with expertise..., Jan. 8 2007
By 
M. B. Alcat "Curiosity killed the cat, but sa... (Hanoi, Vietnam) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Julius Caesar (Paperback)
"Julius Caesar" was written by William Shakespeare (1564-1616), and even though it is not as well-known as some of his other plays, it is a classic that should be read with the attention it deserves.

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!

Belen Alcat
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5.0 out of 5 stars Roman political intrigue meets Elizabethan drama, Oct. 27 2003
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This review is from: Julius Caesar (Mass Market Paperback)
Not much is more sensational than the assassination of a major public figure; reading Act 3, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," in which the title character is stabbed and hacked to death by half a dozen conspirators, I feel like I'm depriving myself of a thrilling theatrical spectacle that must be seen to be appreciated. It is not necessary to know much about Caesar to sense the power of the drama; the play provides just enough background and information about Caesar's personality to suggest the reason for his murder and its consequences.
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. We see Brutus discussing with his co-conspirator Cassius the dangers of Caesar's ascension and Cassius's sympathetic response, the conspirators meeting at night to plan their attack on Caesar in the Capitol, Caesar's disregard of a soothsayer's prophecies of doom, and then the bloody climax, even after which the drama loses not a bit of momentum: Brutus appeals to the people (the Plebeians) that the assassination of Caesar, whom they loved and did not at all consider a potential tyrant, was only for their own good; while Mark Antony, one of Caesar's triumvirate and an eloquent orator, cajoles the people with demagogic irony into suspecting the murder happened for no reason other than malice.
Shakespeare fashions Caesar and Brutus more or less as two sides of the same denarius. Caesar is physically frail and deaf in one ear, but that doesn't preclude his triumphant success as a general and a military strategist. He is also pompous and fatuously vain -- there is nothing he fears more than to appear cowardly to his peers. Brutus is cut out of the same stock of hubris, but his motivations are purely altruistic. He loves Rome -- as a republic -- and will do anything to save it from a dictator, even kill a man he considers a friend and attempt to ally himself with foreign nations to wage a civil war against the armies of the now-empowered Roman triumvirate. Shakespeare brings all of this to light in a humanistic portrait of one of the most fascinating figures from history and his idealistic destroyer.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Julius Caesar, May 29 2003
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This review is from: Julius Caesar (Mass Market Paperback)
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 flows. I liked this book because it was very historical and interesting. One reason I did not like this book is because it did not give enough detail as to what was going on at a particular time in the book. When Shakespeare wrote this book it really captured the language that he was trying to use. It was a well written play and you could tell. This play was like no other play that Shakespeare had written in his career; it is very original. All of the characters in this play have an important role in the play also. Such as Brutus and Cassius; the play would not be such a work of art without the characters in Julius Caesar. The betrayal and determination in this play is extensive making it a wonderful book. I recommend this book to all people who love to read a good book. It takes time to read and understand, but in the end you end up reading something that is a big part of Shakespeare's career. This is a book that is to be read with time to properly understand and value what is being said and to take into count the hardship and time put into the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Friends, Romans, Web Surfers..., May 27 2003
By 
C. Fletcher (California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Julius Caesar (Mass Market Paperback)
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.
It worked with pretty good results for ROMEO AND JULIET, but then we ran out of gas somewhere in the middle of our next selection, JULIUS CAESAR.
Now that I've finally finished reading the play long after our allotted "couple months," I have to say that the fault (the mutual disinterest that effectively brought our little Shakespeare club to a halt) doesn't lie in the play itself, but rather in my preconceptions of what the play was about.
I can't speak for my friend, but since I took the Cliff Notes route in high school when we were supposed to be reading about Caesar and Brutus and the rest of the treacherous Roman senate (and didn't do a very thorough job at that) I always assumed the play's action revolved around the plot to kill Caesar and culminated with his death scene. I wasn't prepared to find Caesar dead halfway through the play, with two-plus acts remaining. I think I just lost interest once Caesar blurted, "Et tu, Brute?" and slouched over lifeless on the cold marble.
But thankfully I eventually kept going, and discovered what the play is really about: the manipulation of the public that goes on after Caesar's death. The speeches in JULIUS CAESAR, given by those who would take his place, are full of the damage-control, image-making spin that happens everday on our "all news" channels. It's an interesting play, maybe not Shakespeare's best, but one that has certainly has some modern relevance and is worth examining.
Now if my friend and I can just get our club back on its feet. Maybe a comedy next time...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly Powerful - All Hail Caesar!!!, Nov. 7 2002
By 
Chris Salzer (Gainesville, GA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Julius Caesar (Mass Market Paperback)
"Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once." - Caesar
Just one of the many brilliant quotes from this powerful and enduring tragedy, which happens to be amongst my very favorite Shakespeare. How could anyone not enjoy Marc Antony swaying the weak-minded and feeble-minded plebians with his vibrant and rousing speech? Julius Caesar is unquestionably quintessential Shakespeare, a monumental work that perhaps is surpassed only by Hamlet and rivaled by Othello, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, & King Lear.
Julius Caesar teaches us about the dangers and pitfalls of ambition, jealousy, power, as well as the sacrifice for the greater good - even if it is another's life. Amongst the bood-thirsty traiotors, only Brutus genuinely believes in the assassination of Caesar for the greater good of the Republic. Julius Caesar galvanizes the brain and awakens the spirit from within with scenes such as when Marc Antony proclaims, "Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of war."
Countless amounts of quotes and passages throughout the play rank among my favorite Shakespeare. Needless to say, this book should be on the bookshelf of any and all with any semblance of intellect and enough cultivation to appreciate such superb literature.
The modern perspective following the text enlightens and should be read by anyone seeking more knowledge about this amazing tragedy and time in history. An irrepressible 5 stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare's vying supermen, March 14 2001
This review is from: Julius Caesar (Mass Market Paperback)
"Julius Caesar", as a play, breathes the altogether purer air of antique virtues. The action centres around the ambitions and loyalties, both personal and political, of Shakespeare's supermen, Brutus, Caesar, Cassius and Mark Antony. The ending sees the suicide of Brutus, properly the play's dramatic hero. Sincere but blind, Brutus, is motivated by the greater good of restoring the Republic to such an extent that he is willing to sacrifice even his dearest friend, Caesar, to this design. Swayed by the spiteful malcontent Cassius, he unwisely underestimates Mark Antony, who emerges as a formidable adversary of Brutus's. Haunted by Caesar's spirit, which indicates that his influence will also prove to be posthumous, Brutus realises his error and submits to his fate. The notion of Brutus's "noble suicide", which is repugnant to Christian doctrine, is introduced in the end by Shakespeare, fully evoking Brutus's greatness of soul in avenging the friend he killed, Caesar, by killing himself: "Caesar now be still./I killed not thee with half so good a will." As a worthy character, he devises a grand plan but fails and so submits to his own code. He punishes Caesar for his ambition and then punishes himself for his own. Unlike "Hamlet", "Julius Caesar" is more compact, less complex. The action and psychological characterisation are simpler and the language is more hard-trimmed. The tragic elements of error and chance are present throughout the play and the ending neatly combines an address of the tragic hero's principal flaw and a meting out of justice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare Outdoes Himself!, April 14 2000
This was the first play performed at the Globe Theatre. For that reason alone, this play deserves special attention. But the characters, the language, and this interesting situation represent Shakespeare's finest efforts. Cassius is ruthless with a malicious attitude. But he honestly fears what Caesar will do if he is crowned. Brutus is a good and honest man. He contemplates joining Cassius to kill Caesar despite the fact that Caesar loves him as a friend. (In history as well, Caesar was notably kind to Brutus.) But yet he too fears that if Caesar is crowned, Rome will bleed. Mark Antony is convincing as Caesar's loyal aid who SEEMS insignificant at first. But after Caesar is killed, he emerges as the most powerful and intelligent character in the play. What makes this play so phenomenal is that we can easily understand and sympathize with any of these major characters. (Even though they are on opposite sides.) What's left? Only chilling omens like the Soothsayer, the storm, the ghost of Caesar, etc. Only memorable passages like Mark Antony's famous 'honorable' speech. If you like this play, I suggest the B & W version where James Mason does Brutus, John Gielgud does Cassius, and Marlon Brando does Mark Antony.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Noble Words--Ignoble Deeds, Dec 7 2000
By 
George R Dekle "Bob Dekle" (Lake City, FL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Julius Caesar (Audio Cassette)
I've read the play several times, studied it in school, and seen it produced, but never have I been so struck by the contrast between word and deed as when I listened to this audiocassette. At every point the Romans speak beautifully of honor, virtue, courage, and other noble qualities. If we listened only to their words, we might think them noble, but when we see their deeds, we find the play thick with irony. The speakers must either be hypocrits or have no self-objectivity. Portia, Brutus' wife, emerges as the only admirable character, but the play still commands our full attention. Mighty words are match by mighty deeds, but noble thoughts are checked by ignoble actions. When Antony pronounces Brutus "the noblest Roman of them all", he merely recognizes Brutus as the best of a bad lot. Regardless of the villainy of the characters, the play is superb, and audio may well be the best medium for fully enjoying it.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Interesting history but poor resolution, Oct. 7 1998
By 
CRC (Shreveport, LA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Julius Caesar (Mass Market Paperback)
Having read much historically about the the Roman emperors, I was very excited to be reading JULIUS CAESAR. It was interesting at first to compare the characters of the play to the same names we read about in history books. I felt that this is one of Shakespeare's most difficult books to interpret in today's language. Even though this edition does have extensive foot (or in this book, side) notes, the reading process was confusing having to look back in forth. If you are just reading this play to read some Shakespeare, try another less difficult Shakespeare work, like A COMEDY OF ERRORS. Thsi is much easier to understand, and for beginners, you will probably enjoy it more. But if you are a beginner looking for a tragedy, try ROMEO and JULIET. While the language can be confusing at time, this classic story should really be read by all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Once again, morality vs. politics, April 10 2001
By 
Guillermo Maynez (Mexico, Distrito Federal Mexico) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Julius Caesar (Mass Market Paperback)
This superb play by Shakespeare somehow reminded me of Antigona, the first play which directly examined the always complex interplay and usual confrontation between political reason and moral reason. This play is an excellent account of the immediately previous and subsequent days of Julius Caesar's assasination by Brutus, his best friend, and other conspirators. Brutus is persuaded by the resentful Cassius that Caesar has betrayed Rome by abandoning the Republic and turning to Dictatorship. Brutus gets to be convinced that, in order to save the Republic, Caesar must be killed. This puts him in a great dilemma, for he loves Caesar and he's his closest friend. Here we see in an acute form the way in which political power gets in conflict with morality and feelings. Friendship, power and betrayal are the basic subjects of this excellent piece of work.
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Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (Mass Market Paperback - Aug. 1 1992)
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