I wish I could say I’m a Shakespeare fan, but there’s no love lost between me and The Bard.
Bits and pieces of Shakespeare are brilliant, but on the whole, I just don’t think I’m esoteric enough to truly “get” Shakespeare.
My son had to read Julius Caesar this year in his English class. Consequently, I got to re-read Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar has neither changed nor improved since I read it in high school.
According to my teenager, Julius Caesar basically goes like this: Boring, boring, boring, Brutus murders his best friend, Caesar. Boring, boring, boring, lots of people are sad and kill themselves. Boring, boring, boring, there’s a civil war. Boring, boring, boring, Brutus kills himself. The End.
As far as abridged versions go, I think he pretty much nailed it.
Act 4, Scene 3 finds our tragic hero, Brutus, in the throes of an argument with his frenemy, Cassius (they argue a lot). Brutus accuses Cassius of tarnishing the whole glorious regicide thing by accepting bribes. Cassius then accuses Brutus of being equally greedy. Things come to a head and Cassius gives Brutus a knife and tells Brutus to go ahead and kill him if he finds him so abhorrent. Then they realize that’s just stupid, so they decide to be bros again. And then Cassius decides now would be a super time to tell Brutus that his wife, Portia, has just committed suicide by swallowing hot coals.
Um . . . ouch.
Brutus takes it all in and says to Cassius,
So Cassius runs out to get Brutus a really big bowl of wine. And Brutus drowns all his unkindness. He’ll deal with it later, when he can stand it. Or . . . he’ll just throw himself on his own sword.
I’ve been known to bury some unkindness in a bowl of wine. You?