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Burial and Praise: Two Eulogies from Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”

Date: Monday, Aug. 16 | 7:00–8:30 PM EDT

At the center of Julius Caesar, Shakespeare stages a rap battle between two Caesar associates, the “honorable” Brutus and the loving friend Mark Antony. Caesar is lying dead, and Brutus justifies the plot to assassinate him as necessary to save the Roman republic. Mark Antony, given a turn to speak, whips the crowd into a revenging frenzy. From there, Rome descends into civil war, and, by the end of the play, both Brutus and the republic are dead. Rome has become an empire, and self-rule by the people is a thing of the past. Is the republic worth saving, and is Brutus’ defense of the republic persuasive? Can the empire be justified, and if so, is Mark Antony the man of the future? Is honor a concept that survives the creation of empire, and, if so, who is the honorable man? These are some of the important questions we will explore in this seminar.

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