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Julius Caesar: The Oxford Shakespeare (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 8 May 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; Reprint edition (8 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199536120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199536122
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 2 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

`Professor Humphreys is an excellent Shakespeare critic: he responds sensitively to the play's language and style, and his judgements on the action's finer points are subtle and discriminating...this edition is an impressibley mature piece of work.' Emrys Jones, Literary Review

About the Author

Arthur Humphreys is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Leicester.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Julius Caesar is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, combining as it does some wonderful poetry with the drama of a historical tragedy.

Shakespeare, characteristically, does not take sides. Are Brutus, Cassius and their co-conspirators striking a blow for freedom, or is their plot an unjustifiable and treacherous murder? Shakespeare does not tell us what to think; he puts the arguments of both sides into the mouths of his characters and leaves us to decide for ourselves.

The only problem I have with the play is the way that the Roman masses are portrayed as a fickle mob who are easily swayed by the speeches of demagogues. Nevertheless, the scene where Mark Antony turns the crowd from supporting the actions of the assassins to wanting to hunt them down and kill them is marvellous drama. Especially clever is Antony's increasingly ironic use of the phrase, "And Brutus is an honourable man."

Shakespeare's slightly patronising attitude to the common folk is also the only negative feature of another of my favourites: A Midsummer Night's Dream. Here the "mechanicals" are very funny, but unfortunately portrayed in a rather condescending way.

As to the real history on which "Julius Caesar" is based, the Roman Republic which the historical Brutus supported was not a democracy. It was an oligarchy dominated by a rich senatorial elite who were only concerned with their own freedom, not that of the mass of poor citizens, let alone that of the slaves.

The real Julius Caesar did indeed destroy the "freedom" of this rich people's oligarchy. But he gained power not just through military force but also because he won the poorer citizens to his side by adopting populist measures which benefited them.
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Format: Paperback
This is a superb edition of one of WS' best plays and well worth buying. Millions of words have been expended on the works of this extraordinary playwright, about whose life we know practically nothing, so all the modern reader/theatregoer can usefully do is assess the value of editions and productions as and when they come along - and this one's a belter. Hats off to Arthur Humphreys who has made the perilous ascent (to use his own conceit) and attained the peak, along with doughty sherpas who get their share of the credit, with distinction, penning a formidably erudite and insightful introduction. I said I wouldn't mention the play but it's perfect and I can hardly conjure the image of a Midlands lad sitting at a table in London with quill in hand writing something as profound, urgent and beautiful as this work. But he did, thank our lucky stars.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perfect condition - A really useful edition of one of Shakespeare's arguably best works with an insightful introduction into politics, morality, Shakespeare's sources and the play as a performance.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Immaculate condition safely arrived
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