« 이전계속 »
the time when the great man was natural, simple, undissembling, popular, and on an equal footing with others. Now he is spoiled by victory, success, power, and by the republican courtiers who surround him. He stands close on the borders between usurpation and discretion; he is master in reality, and is on the point of assuming the name and the right; he desires heirs to the throne; he hesitates to accept the crown which he would gladly possess; he is ambitious, and fears he may have betrayed this in his paroxysms of epilepsy; he exclaims against flatterers and cringers, and yet both please him.
All around him treat him as a master, his wife as a prince; the senate allow themselves to be called his senate; he assumes the appearance of a king even in his house; even with his wife he uses the language of a man who knows himself secure of power; and he maintains everywhere the proud, strict bearing of a soldier, which is represented even in his statues. If one of the changes at which Plutarch hints lay in this pride, this haughtiness, another lay in his superstition. In the suspicion and apprehension before the final step he was seized, contrary to his usual nature and habit, with misgivings and superstitious fears, which affected likewise the hitherto free-minded Calpurnia. These conflicting feelings divide him, his forebodings excite him, his
pride and his defiance of danger struggle against them, and restore his former confidence, which was natural to him, and which causes his ruin; just as a like confidence, springing from another source, ruined Brutus.
(From Morley's Introduction to the Play) Shakespeare's Julius Cæsar is a play of government, but it is not enough to say that it represents government in its chief forms. The sweep of the story brings before us — in Rome, the centre of old rule - unstable populace, democratic tribunes, republicans in their two main types, as the practical republican whose thought is for himself, and the philosophical, whose thought is for the world; it paints feeble man in greed of the empire, and tyrannicide as worse than fruitless; shows oligarchy risen from the ruins with a tyranny far greater than that from which the bare mistrust had caused escape to be sought by murder; it paints civil war, and includes foreshadowings of the disunion between chiefs of equal power.
Which, then, of the persons in this play of Julius Cæsar is the one upon whom Shakespeare seeks especially to fix attention? Beyond question, it is Brutus. The centre of interest will lie in him. Shunning, as we must always, the paths of dry speculation which
invariably lead those who follow them to deserts far away from Shakespeare's track, we ask, as we must always, what is the most direct and obvious source of our strong human interest in the person whose fortunes are most continuously and visibly affected by the action of the plot. Brutus is represented as a man gentle and noble in the best sense of each word, the most perfect character in Shakespeare, but for one great error in his life. All Rome had so much faith in his unblemished honor, that the conspirators who had determined to strike down Cæsar by assassination in the hour when he was about to grasp the sole dominion of Rome, strongly desired companionship of Brutus to give to their deed color of right, and win for it more readily the assent of the people. There is in the blood of Brutus a love of liberty so strong that it is a virtue tending to excess. Upon this and upon his unselfish concern for the common good, his brother-in-law Cassius works, and by his working sways the scales of judgment, and leads Brutus to do evil that good may come of it. Not for ill done, but for mistrust of what might come, with no motive but the highest desire for his country's good, with no personal grudge in his heart, but a friend's affection for the man he struck, Brutus took part in an assassination. Portents are so inwoven with the action of the play as to suggest the presence of the gods in the affairs of men. The stroke that was to free Rome from a possible tyranny gave three tyrants for one, civil war for peace, and sent to a cruel death, by self-murder, the faithful wife who was dear to Brutus as the ruddy drops that visited his sad heart. The spirit of Cæsar haunted Brutus as his evil spirit, and the last cry at Philippi was, “O Julius Cæsar, thou art mighty yet!” as Cæsar's chief assassins were dying by their own hands on the swords that stabbed him.
(From Dowden's Shakspere, His Mind and Art) Julius Cæsar is indeed protagonist of the tragedy: but it is not the Cæsar whose bodily presence is weak, whose mind is declining in strength and sure-footed energy, the Cæsar who stands exposed to all the accidents of fortune. This bodily presence of Cæsar is but of secondary importance, and may be supplied when it actually passes away, by Octavius as its substitute. It is the spirit of Cæsar which is the dominant power of the tragedy ; against this -- the spirit of Cæsar - Brutus, who ever errs in practical politics, succeeded only in striking down Cæsar's body; he who had been weak now rises as pure spirit, strong and terrible, and avenges himself upon the conspirators. The contrast between the weakness of Cæsar's bodily presence in the first half of the play, and the might of his spiritual presence in the latter half of the play, is emphasized, and perhaps overemphasized by Shakespeare. It was the error of Brutus that he failed to perceive wherein lay the true Cæsarian power, and acted with short-sighted eagerness and violence. Mark Antony, over the dead body of his lord, announces what is to follow:
"Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men ;
And Cæsar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
The ghost of Cæsar (designated by Plutarch only the “evil spirit” of Brutus), which appears on the night before the battle of Philippi, serves as a kind of visible symbol of the vast posthumous power of the dictator. Cassius dies with the words:
Cæsar, thou art revenged
Brutus, when he looks upon the face of his dead brother, exclaims: