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The Tragedy of Julius Cæsar
His life was gentle, and the elements
Oct. According to his virtue let us use him, 76
80 To part the glories of this happy day.
Exeunt omnes. 73 gentle: that of a true gentleman elements: as microcosm, man
was believed to be composed of earth, air, fire, and water, mingled
in due proportions 79 Most like: as best befits order'd: arrayed 80 field: troops in the field 81 part: share
76 use: treat
I. i. S. d. Marullus. The Folios spell this name incorrectly, 'Murellus.' The emendation, based on Plutarch and other conclusive ancient authorities, is Theobald's. On similar grounds, certain other orthographical vagaries have been corrected in most of the modern editions: e.g., the Folios print 'Calphurnia, Antonio,' 'Claudio,' 'Varrus,' etc. On the other hand, ‘Decius Brutus' for 'Decimus' is a genuine confusion of identity which Shakespeare took over from North's Plutarch (see Appendix A).
I. i. 25. with awl. The original Folio pointing and spelling of the text will serve to suggest a further pun not obvious in the modern texts: ‘I meddle with no Tradesmans matters, nor womens matters; but withal I am indeed Sir, a Surgeon to old shooes.'
I. i. 35. triumph. This triumph celebrated Cæsar's defeat of the sons of Pompey at the battle of Munda, in Spain, March 17, B. C. 45, and was the first such recognition of a Roman's victory over any but a foreign foe.-Shakespeare throughout has compressed the historical duration of the play's action considerably, in the interests of dramatic effectiveness: so here he has this triumph coincide with the festival of the Lupercalia, February 15, B. C. 44; in Act III he places the murder, the funeral orations, and the arrival of Octavius all on the same day, whereas in reality some two months elapsed between the earliest and the latest of these events; and in Act V he combines in a single action the two battles of Philippi, whicn really were separated by a threeweek interval. See further, for the use of 'Double Time' in this play, the note on II. i. 61, 62.
I. i. 49. her. 'Father Tiber' would seem to de
mand a masculine pronoun, and Rowe accordingly, followed by several other editors, changed 'her' to ‘his' in this line and line 51; but Elizabethan usage was less strict than classical, and Shakespeare's laxity was not a special peculiarity of his own. I. i. 71. Lupercal.
Lupercal. Ancient Roman festival of purification and expiation, celebrated February 15, and believed to give new life and fruitfulness to fields, flocks, and human beings. After due sacrifices had been offered, the chosen young men, called 'Luperci,' ran around the Palatine hill and struck with their thongs of goatskin those who stood in their way, thus warding off barrenness. These thongs were called 'februa,' from 'februare, to purify'; the day, 'dies februatus'; and the whole month, 'februarius.'
I. ii. 154. walks. The famous and spacious paved Roman Ways, such as the “Via Appia,' ‘Via Sacra, ‘Via Flaminia, etc., are here put for the city itself, by synecdoche. Or, another sound explanation is based on III. ii. 252; 'walks' thus would signify the parks and promenades forming the outlying suburbs of the city. Rowe's emendation, 'walls,' though widely accepted, is unnecessary and prosaic.
I. ii. 165. The punctuation in this line is that of Pope's second edition, and has been generally adopted; but the Folio gives a perfectly plausible reading without emendation: 'I would not so (with love I might entreat you) Be any further moved.' I. ii. 198. my name.
A Latin idiom, meaning 'I myself, Cæsar.' For parallels from Virgil, Milton, and the Bible, cf. R. C. Browne's note on Paradise Lost, II, 964, in the Clarendon Press edition of English Poems by John Milton, 1906.
I. ii. 203. he hears no music. Cf. Merchant of Venice, V. i. 83-88.
I. ii. 320. He should not humour me. 'He,' as is shown by the ‘he' in the preceding line and the 'his'
in the following, refers to Brutus, not to Cæsar. Cassius then says: 'If I had Brutus' standing with Cæsar and Brutus only mine, Brutus should not (as easily as I mean to beguile him into doing so) talk me into forgoing the advantages afforded by Cæsar's favor.'
I. iii. 60. cast yourself in wonder. 'Plunge headlong into, abjectly abandon yourself to, unreasoning wonder.' Cf. 'cast down,' and the etymology of 'abject.' There is no need for emendation, though 'case' has been widely accepted.
I. iii. 65. Why old men, fools, and children calculate. This line has occasioned much discussion. Many editors emend it thus: 'Why old men fool, and children calculate,' i.e., 'Why the wise are foolish and the foolish wise.' But against this emendation may
be urged the facts that 'old men' are not always 'wise,' in Shakespeare or elsewhere, and that the unaltered text affords an acceptable meaning: 'Why dotards, idiots, and infants so far depart from their ordinary characteristics as to utter the profound truths of divination.'
I. iii. 107-111. 'The idea seems to be that, as men start a huge fire with worthless straws or shavings, so Cæsar is using the degenerate Romans of the time, to set the whole world ablaze with his own glory.' (Hudson.)
I. iii. 126. Pompey's porch. A magnificent colonnade or portico surrounding an open area which contained avenues of sycamore trees, fountains, and statues; it was attached to Pompey's theatre (line 152), in the Campus Martius, the first stone theatre to be erected in Rome.
II. i. 15. Crown him that. 'Once make him that-i.e., once let him become the full-grown adderby crowning him, and then I realize that we shall be rendering actual a peril (sting) which now is only potential and latent.'
Emendations seem unnecessary, though many have been proposed and few editors retain the Folio and Quarto punctuation given in the present text.
II. i. 59. fourteen. This is Theobald's generally accepted emendation of the Folio and Quarto reading, 'fifteen. To Brutus (line 40) it is still the night of the fourteenth. If 'fifteen' days were indeed 'wasted,' i.e., gone, then the ides too would be gone,—which is just what the Soothsayer points out that they are not (III. i. 2).
II. i. 61, 62. Literally interpreted, this statement is incredible, if we stop to reflect that a month has passed since I. ii; Brutus then can mean merely 'I have not slept well.' But as a rule we do not stop to reflect thus mathematically, and so we have the impression that ‘Cassius first did whet' Brutus ‘against Cæsar' only a night or two before and that Brutus' sleeplessness has not been superhumanly protracted; for seemingly 'Brought you Cæsar home?' (I. iii. 1) means home from the Lupercal (I. ii), and Casca himself in I. iii is returning from his dinner engagement on the night of the Lupercal (I. ii. 294), so that I. iii apparently follows I. ii without any interval; while II. i apparently follows I. iii with almost equal immediacy, for in their last conversation (on stage: I. ii. 308-312) Brutus and Cassius arranged to meet again at Brutus' home 'to-morrow,' and hence (II. i. 70 ff.) we have their first meeting (on stage) since that time. This device, whereby Shakespeare secures an impression of rapid, uninterruptedly continuous action while unobtrusively supplying to reflection all needed data for the determination of the actual historical intervals involved, is known as the phenomenon of 'Double Time,' and is well shown further in Acts IV and V of this play. The Short or Dramatic Time-scheme maintains the tension of the passion,