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ting the murder with all due delicacy and decorum, and then pretending to regret it.” This is stretching the comparison too far. When Christ (Luke xvi.) tells His disciples to imitate the conduct of the unjust steward, He does not thereby inculcate injustice. So here Brutus, though asking his followers to act like hypocritical masters, does not incite them to hypocrisy. In order that the deed may be done they must for the time give the reins to their righteous anger, and in the words put into the mouth of Henry V.,
imitate the action of the tiger,
but afterwards they may grieve over the death of Caesar, and almost appear (to themselves, as much as to others) to repent of their action, not with any intent to deceive, but because they cannot help lamenting over the death of a man whom Brutus at any rate loved, and for whom he had good reason to expect that many of the other conspirators entertained kindly feelings on account of the benefits they had received from him. As Agrippa remarks in Antony and Cleopatra, V. i. 27:
Strange it is
Those who interpret the passage as recommending hypocrisy are reduced to the necessity of interpreting “make” as meaning “make to appear,” or even change “make” into “mark.” Further, it is quite evident from Antony's eulogium at the end of the play that the purpose of Brutus was not envious, so that he cannot be contemplating hypocritical concealment of his motives in line 178.
III. i. 47: Caesar doth not wrong. Ben Jonson ridicules this passage in his Staple of News in the sentence, “Cry you mercy; you never did wrong, but with just cause.” He further remarks in his Discoveries, “Many times he
(Shakespeare) fell into those things could not escape laughter : as when he said in the person of Cæsar, one speaking to him, 'Cæsar, thou dost me wrong,' he replied,
Cæsar did never wrong but with just cause !'" We probably here have the original reading, which in deference to Ben Jonson's criticism may have been altered into the Folio reading, either by Shakespeare himself or by his editors. Tyrwhitt meets Ben Jonson's criticism by pointing out that “wrong" may be understood to mean "harm" or "hurt" (see 111. i. 242), in which case there would be no appearance of contradiction. The passage should rather be explained as an anacoluthon, the sentence ending as if it had begun “ Cæsar never acted.” See notes on II. i. 12, 124, 126, and compare such sentences as “ you may deny that you were not the cause," where the negative is used in the noun clause as if it had been governed by “say." Another interpretation is suggested by the Merchant of Venice, iv. i. 216, where Bassanio pleads, “To do a great right do a little wrong," and by the discussion in Bacon's Advancement of Learning of the sentiment of Jason of Pheræ that "some things are to be done unjustly that many things may be done justly." By the light of these passages we should understand Cæsar to mean that, if he ever transgressed the ordinary rules of justice, he had just cause to do so on account of wider principles of justice. This is how Lowell interprets the line when he defends it on the ground that "the moral confusion in the idea was surely admirably characteristic of the general who had just accomplished a successful coup d'état, the condemnation of which he would fancy that he read in the face of every honest man he met, and which he would therefore be for ever indirectly palliating.” Lastly, an entirely immoral interpretation is suggested by Massinger's Roman Actor, v. i.:
What pleases Cæsar, Though never so unjust, is right and lawful. III. i. 48: Will he be satisfied. The fact that this half line is not completed by the next speaker may be due to the passage having been altered from its original form.
If such an alteration was really made, then, as Craik remarks, Shakespeare acted as Euripides did, when he mended or cut out passages which had been ridiculed by Aristophanes.
III. i. 206: Sign'd expresses nearly the same meaning as “crimson'd.” Thy spoil = in the act of spoiling thee, i.e. marring thee (see ii. 191, and Henry V. v. ii. 249: “Old age, that ill layer up of beauty can do no more spoil upon thy face"), reducing thee to ruins (see 256), or "spoil” may mean overthrow, death, like the Greek verb įvapilw, which by its etymology means to spoil, but is often used by Homer to express the idea of slaying. Or, perhaps, it is better to regard Cæsar's blood as the spoil. No other spoils being available in this case, the hunters took as their spoil the reward that generally (see the quotation below from the Book of St. Albans and the lines from Gorboduc, in which the hunter is actually represented as drinking the blood of the deer) belonged to the hounds. In this case “in thy spoil”="in thy lethe.” Ancient etymologists connected letum, death, which they therefore sometimes spelt lethum, with Lethe, the river of oblivion, the water of which was drunk by the dead when they entered the lower world. Hence the two words are apt to be confused in English. Thus we have “lethal" = deadly, and in Heywood's lines,
The proudest nation that great Asia nursed
Is now extinct in Lethe, "lethe" appears to mean death, though it may also mean oblivion. In the passage before us " lethe" must be taken to mean by metonymy death-blood, a meaning further suggested by the fact that Lethe is the stream of the dead. For the metonymy compare Æneid, ix. 348, where Servius interprets multa morte as meaning multo cruore, and the use of " slaughter” in the closely similar passage in King John, II. i. 321-323 :
And, like a jolly troop of huntsmen, come
This interpretation is also supported by Capell's assertion that “‘lethe' is a term used by hunters to signify the blood shed by a deer at its fall, with which it is still a custom to mark those who come in at the death.” Such a custom does not appear to be mentioned by any other writers. There are, however, frequent allusions to hunters cutting up the deer, and, in so doing, staining their hands and arms with its blood. This office is performed in the ninth chapter of the Bride of Lammermoor by Bucklaw, who is described as “stript to his doublet, with tucked up sleeves, and naked arms up to the elbows in blood (see line 106), slashing, cutting, hacking, and hewing with the precision of Sir Tristrem himself.” Compare also Gorboduc, Iv. i., where Videna says to Porrex: “Why could you not have been content with hunting savage beasts
To feed thy greedy will, and in the midst
This practice is also alluded to in the Book of St. Albans :
With the bowels and with the blood
where the blood is the spoil with which the hounds are rewarded. We may therefore suppose that Antony compares the conspirators to hunters who have stained their hands and arms with blood in breaking up a noble hart. Other possible interpretations are suggested by Jameson's Scottish Dictionary, where we find leth = a stream, and leth, lethe– hatred. The former word would bring us by a different route to the conclusion we have already arrived at, namely, that “crimsoned in thy lethe ” means “red in the stream of thy life-blood.” If “lethe'' is “hatred,” then the meaning would be “red-handed in their hatred of thee.”
III.iii. 19: bear me a bang. For “bear” used to express the striking of a blow. Murray quotes from Browne's Polerander (1647): “Bajazet bore him a blow that in all
likelihood should have bereft his life." "Take" is used in the same sense in Henry V. iv. i. 231: "I will take thee a box on the ear.”
IV. ii. 50: Lucius, do you the like. Steevens accepts the reading of the Folio, except that he omits "you" in the first line of the speech, so as to make it a regular iambic line. Craik, whose reading is given in the text, remarks that "it is strange that no one should have been struck with the absurdity of such an association as Lucius and Titinius for the guarding of the door-an officer of rank and a servant boy—the boy, too, being named first. The function of Lucius was to carry messages. As Cassius sends his servant Pindarus with a message to his division of the force, Brutus sends his servant Lucius with a similar message to his division. Nothing can be clearer than that Lucilius in the first line is a misprint for Lucius, and Lucius in the third a misprint for Lucilius. Or the error may have been in the copy; and the insertion of the Let was probably an attempt of the printer or editor to save the prosody of that line, as the omission of the you is of the modern editors to save that of the other. The present restoration sets everything to rights. At the close of the conference we have Brutus in iii. 138 again addressing himself to Lucilius and Titinius, who had evidently kept together all the time it lasted. Lucius (who in the original text is commonly called the Boy) and Titinius are nowhere mentioned together.” The fact that in iii. 126 we find Lucilius guarding the door of the tent amounts to a conclusive verification of Craik's inference.
IV. iii. 5: slighted off- The text differs from the Folio reading only by the dash at the end of the line indicating that Brutus would not allow Cassius to finish his long sentence. Compare II. i. 184, 111. ii. 61, iv. i. 3 ; Othello, 1. i. 3, III. iii. 227; and Romeo and Juliet, 11. ii. 108, 115, where the Folio has full stops instead of dashes, though in each case the sentence is unfinished. In II. i. 115 the Folios have a semicolon instead of a dash after "abuse." This habit of interrupting speakers in the middle of their