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ning, and tells us after 1. 76 that "They stab Cæsar." The stage directions here in all editions are modern; those in this book are based upon the account given by Plutarch. Apparently the procession is upon the front stage, representing the street before the Capitol, for the first twelve lines; it then passes to the back stage, and this represents the entry into the Capitol. After 1. 26 we suppose that Cæsar takes his seat, and that the senators, who have been standing in compliment to him, do the same. The remainder of the scene takes place upon the back stage, within the Capitol. III, ii, the great scene of the play, is a mass scene, and the entire stage, front and back, is used to represent the Roman Forum. Indeed, the balcony is also employed; for when Brutus " goes into the pulpit," he mounts into this rear balcony; and Antony succeeds him there, until asked by the mob to come down. Next we have the much-discussed front scene between Cinna the poet and the mob, III, iii. We infer that IV, i, takes place in "a house in Rome," and was represented upon the back stage. In IV, ii, the front stage represents the space before Brutus's tent; at the end of this scene Brutus and Cassius pass to the back stage, the interior of the tent, for scene iii. Concerning the Ghost the Folio is very specific: "Enter the Ghost of Cæsar." Act V was played entirely upon the front stage, in the open air.
Professor Brandl believes that the three separate divisions of the Elizabethan stage were sometimes all in use together, that three different groups of persons could in some measure claim the attention of the audience at the same time. He thinks that Act IV, scenes iv and v, of Romeo and Juliet were thus presented. I translate his words: 1.
"In the reception hall -- that is, upon the back stageLady Capulet and the nurse are busily engaged in preparing
1 From the Introduction to Vol. I of the new edition of the SchlegelTieck translation of Shakespeare.
the meal for the wedding guests; servants with food, firewood, and baskets are hurrying to and from the kitchen; the nurse is sent up into Juliet's chamber in order to waken the prospective bride. Above in the balcony we see her draw back the window curtain, but she cannot arouse the sleeper
below the clatter of preparation continues-the nurse becomes anxious and calls for help. Lady Capulet climbs the stair and beholds the sad spectacle; Capulet appears; both lament over the body of their daughter. In the meantime, musicians have drawn near upon the front stage; Paris will carry away his bride with cheery piping; thus the festive tumult ever increases on the floor of the stage, as does the noise of lamentation above in the chamber; and both of them are both seen and heard by the spectator, until at last the words of Capulet spoken to Paris from the window put an end to this shocking contrast. In the modern theater, with all its elaborate apparatus and decorations, half of the effect of such scenes is lost."
A modern manager puts a Shakespearean play on the stage with a vast display of elaborate scenery and gorgeous costumes. Long waits between the scenes and acts make it necessary to mutilate the play in various ways. Scenes are combined that Shakespeare kept apart, the order of the parts of the play is freely departed from, and many passages and whole scenes are omitted altogether. In this way many touches of preparation, retrospect, transition, and characterization are simply dropped. The result may be magnificent, but in many ways it is not Shakespeare. Moreover, the expense of the elaborate setting is so oppressive that managers are loath to produce Shakespeare at all. Sir Henry Irving recently announced that his losses on Shakespearean productions had amounted to £100,000.
Undoubtedly Shakespeare sometimes went too far in breaking up the action of a drama into separate, scattered scenes, but in his greatest works all the parts of the play should be presented, and the correct order of the scenes is a definite part of the dramatic effect.
Shakespeare's plays were constructed for Shakespeare's theater; they are falsified when presented to an audience in an entirely different manner. This fact has come to be recognized more and more, and various attempts have been made to remedy the difficulty. A number of Elizabethan plays have been presented by the students of Harvard University during recent years upon a stage especially constructed in the Elizabethan fashion. Since 1895 the Elizabethan Stage Society of London has presented a number of Elizabethan plays in the Elizabethan manner. But the only important attempt to appeal to the general public by means of a reformed method of presenting the plays of Shakespeare has been made in München (Munich), Germany. In 1889 the director of the court-theater in that capital began to present the plays of Shakespeare upon a specially prepared stage. The only omissions made were such as good taste demanded. Only a moderate use was made of stage furnishings and decorative effects. There were no waits between the scenes, and only slight ones between the acts. This special stage was called "die Shakespeare-Bühne," the Shakespeare stage. It consisted essentially of a stage divided into front and back portions, like the Elizabethan. The front stage remained unchanged in appearance throughout the play; the back stage could be shut off by a separate curtain. This double stage, with moderation in the use of stage furnishings, permitted a rapid succession of front scenes, and a rapid alternation of front and back scenes. Many lovers of Shakespeare were enthusiastic over this reform. The acting and elocution were made prominent, not the scene-painting and rich setting. It was found that a whole play of Shakespeare makes a very different impression from the selected parts and tableau effects to which the modern stage has accustomed us. One writer tells us that, when Julius Caesar was presented in its entirety, III, iii, the scene with the poet Cinna, showed itself to be both
a scene of great power and a helpful part of the action, because it makes the audience realize vividly the terrible "mischief" that is "afoot." The presentations upon the "Shakespeare stage" offered an abundance of pleasure and instruction for the students of the great dramatist.
But certain disadvantages came with the gains of the new stage. The modern theater-goer loves the brilliant stage effects of Irving and others; and some of Shakespeare's plays make a somewhat bare and inadequate impression without the use of more elaborate accessories than the 'Shakespeare stage" can accommodate. Therefore, a few years ago, the same man who worked out the details of the "Shakespeare stage" invented a revolving back stage; and this is now in use at München. The rear portion of the stage consists of a great turn-table, with a partition separating it into two halves. While one half of this circular back stage is turned toward the audience and a scene is being presented upon it, the other half, turned from the audience, is being prepared for its next scene. It takes but a few seconds to revolve the new setting of the back stage into its place when it is wanted. Waits are done away with; but at the same time all desirable stage setting can be provided. The present director of the München court-theater, Dr. von Possart, tells us that this "revolving stage" has proved a great success, that a larger theater will erelong be constructed containing this device, and that this invention promises to give us "the stage of the future."
V. THE DATE OF THE COMPOSITION OF JULIUS
In Weever's Mirror of Martyrs, published in 1601, occur the following lines:
"The many-headed multitude were drawne
By Brutus' speech that Cæsar was ambitious;
scene ii, of Julius Cæsar.
It is generally agreed that these lines refer to Act III, Hence our play cannot have been written later than 1601. Francis Meres does not mention this drama among those already in existence in 1598. It was first printed in the Folio of 1623.
Some reasons have lately been presented for believing that 1599 was the year of composition. In the dedication of his work to William Covell, Weever tells us that "This poem some two years ago was made fit for the print." Moreover, Ben Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour (produced in 1599) seems to contain two references to Julius Cæsar. In III, i, of that play Clove says, "Reason long since is fled to animals, you know." This seems to be a distinct reference to Antony's words, "O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts" (III, ii, 103). Also in V, iv, Carlo Buffone, just before his lips are sealed up, says, addressing Macilente, "Et tu Brute!" Here again the reference to the present play (III, i, 77) seems unmistakable. These facts have been pointed out by Mr. Percy Simpson (Notes and Queries, 9th Series, III, pp. 105–106).
VI. THE STYLE
A person who has read several different plays of Shakespeare will be struck at once on beginning Julius Cæsar with the rounded completeness with which every thought is