My best years in school were spent studying Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Right from standard nine to twelve, I went back and forth the unabridged version with sheer happiness. I’d just like to tell you I’m not one to be ‘reviewing’ this play. But, this is probably the only play that has touched me in a way no other play ever has so far.
The first two years were spent in Calcutta along with a brilliant teacher. When it comes to Shakespeare, it is essential to have a fabulous teacher, one who is inspired and can instill that love for the age, the language, and discuss at length about the intricate details and hidden symbolism. My teacher, Mrs D., was just the best. In her witty manner, she got us all to immerse ourselves in the age of the Roman empire, mired with jealousy and pride, anger and stealth. I still remember how every inch of my text book was covered in squiggles of notes, like rows of ants on a mass exodus from page to page. I tried my best to search for this book, but alas, I couldn’t find it. I know it’s lurking somewhere in the bowels of my cupboards, but as of yet, it has managed to stay away from me.
And to add to my love for Caesar and everything to do with this text, my mother too is an ardent lover of this play. It was a joy reading the dialogues and soliloquys loudly to mum while studying at home, getting her perspective on scenarios and discussing questions and answers, and the deeper meaning of life.
The characters of Caius Cassius and Mark Antony were my favourite, not just in the roles they played in the story, but the wonderful dialogues they had and their intricate level of thinking. These characters had ulterior motives, but they played their cards well and the way their speeches had been framed, in retrospect, is extremely exciting – when time and time again Cassius manages to successfully turn Brutus away from Caesar and to convince him into murdering his trusted friend, whereas Antony managed to hoodwink the assassins, when he declares to avenge Caesar’s death and his famous speech – Friends, Romans and countrymen, lend me your ears.
And who can truly forget the fickle-minded Roman public, who have been portrayed as a typical crowd that gets swayed with every new story and story-teller.
Back in Calcutta, we had rigourous questions being asked of us. A line or two could be provided, and we’d often be asked to add context, before and/or after. Each answer would seem like an essay and that’s only because we always had so much to write about this play. I miss those days discussing Shakespeare in class, and even the time when I played Caesar in a small skit me and my friends had worked on. So while I drown in the memories, I leave behind my favourite quote by Caesar:
Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
This post is part of the eighth annual A to Z Challenge that takes place in the month of April. The theme for this month is ‘Between Pages’. It’s my second attempt at this. Feedback is most welcome, constructive criticism, even more. Share your experiences and let’s enjoy this month of fabulous blogging.