Caligula: A Drama in Two Acts

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Samuel French, Inc., 1961 - Drama - 86 pages
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Caligula was born into an illustrious Roman family. His father was Germanicus, a hugely popular and talented general, who, before his early death, was seen as the natural heir of the reigning Augustus. Caligula was a fond nickname meaning "Little Boots" (his real name was Gaius), given to him by the soldiers in Germanicus' legions who loved to see the young boy in the camps dressed in a military uniform. When the cruel and unpopular Emperor Tiberius (who had succeeded Augustus) died, Caligula was swept into office on a wave of good will. But Caligula turned out to be the most insane Caesar of Rome. His evil deeds surpassed both Tiberius, who reigned immediately before him, or Nero, who ruled shortly after.

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Caligula is a story, mildly based on the true story of the Roman emperor Caligula. Clever right? It is said that at a point in his reign, Caligula completely changed his reign into one of tyranny, and well absurdity. It is no wonder this is what appealed to Camus.
The story begins with the turning point in Caligula's reign when his girlfriend dies. Caligula realizes the triviality of man living to be unhappy then dying. He makes it a task of himself to show everyone of the absurdity of existence.
Caligula treats lives as unvaluable objects and uses absurd logic to justify all his actions. The people in Rome understand the point that Caligula tries to make, and dread it even more. The book is about carrying out a philosophy like absurdism to its roots and its disastrous yet... absurd results.
The book can also be used to point out the ridiculousness of dictators carrying out their ideals to their extreme. Hitler's ayrian world, or Stalins tyrannic regime disguised under the hopes of a utopia. Camus sees these things as ridiculous as executing anyone at will for no apparent reason, as Caligula did.
An excellent book, much to Camus's style. It describes his philosophy in a new light. Recommended to anyone interested in 20th century post-modern school of thought.

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