Rome and Rhetoric: Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Yale University Press, 2011 - DRAMA - 197 pages
8 Reviews

Renaissance plays and poetry in England were saturated with the formal rhetorical twists that Latin education made familiar to audiences and readers. Yet a formally educated man like Ben Jonson was unable to make these ornaments come to life in his two classical Roman plays. Garry Wills, focusing his attention on "Julius Caesar," here demonstrates how Shakespeare so wonderfully made these ancient devices vivid, giving his characters their own personal styles of Roman speech.

In four chapters, devoted to four of the play's main characters, Wills shows how Caesar, Brutus, Antony, and Cassius each has his own take on the rhetorical ornaments that Elizabethans learned in school. Shakespeare also makes Rome present and animate by casting his troupe of experienced players to make their strengths shine through the historical facts that Plutarch supplied him with. The result is that the Rome English-speaking people carry about in their minds is the Rome that Shakespeare created for them. And that is even true, Wills affirms, for today's classical scholars with access to the original Roman sources.


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Review: Rome and Rhetoric: Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

User Review  - Steve Greenleaf - Goodreads

We lawyers are a wordy lot. As our culture changes, under the influence of movies, television, the internet, we shift more and more to a culture of images rather than of words. We lawyers may have to ... Read full review

Review: Rome and Rhetoric: Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

User Review  - Thomas - Goodreads

This weekend I took the time to read a deeper book than my usual fare: ROME AND RHETORIC by Garry Wills, the Northwestern University history professor emeritus. My interest was professional, as I am ... Read full review


ONECaesarMighty Yet
TWOBrutusRhetoric Verbal and Visual
THREEAntonyThe Fox Knows Many Things
FOURCassiusParallel Lives

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About the author (2011)

Garry Wills is an adjunct professor and cultural historian in the Department of History at Northwestern Universityand the author of "Lincoln at Gettysburg", for which he won a Pulitzer Prize.

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