Happy Ides of March Everybody!!

Probably my favorite Shakespeare play is “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar” and of course the famous line that comes from this play is when the Soothsayer warns to Caesar, “Beware the Ides of March.”  This forebodes Caesar’s assassination of March 15th.  I personally like the later conversation between Caesar and the Soothsayer, which follows as such:

Caesar:  The Ides of March are come

Soothayer:  Ay, Caesar; but not gone.

Caesar’s vanity prevents him for seeing his own nearly immediate doom which awaits him only a short time away.

If I may offer my personal favorite soliloquy form the play is credited to Mark Antony, in which he speaks:

O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,—
Which, like dumb mouths do ope their ruby lips
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue,—
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use,
And dreadful objects so familiar,
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Até by his side come hot from Hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.—

It is wonderous!  I remember in high school I had to recite that whole soliloquy in an English class (probably part of why I like it so much).

Anyhow, I hope all of y’all have a happy Ides of March today, with little of no forebodings from creepy soothsayers (note: warnings from non-creepy soothsayers are probably okay.  There are soothsayers everywhere!*)

*Someday I am going to write a book called Know Your Soothsayers: A Practical Guide

~ by Nathaniel on March 15, 2010.

2 Responses to “Happy Ides of March Everybody!!”

  1. I’d say that some of the most beautiful Shakespearean language comes from Julius Caesar. He really takes his time and crafts these delightful images that I just want to put in my mouth and chew all day! Happy Ides of March!

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