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expressed. There is, in general, a balance between thought and expression. The thought is sufficient for the words; the words are sufficient for the thought. We may say, perhaps, that this play presents a model style - at least a style remarkably free from faults. Passages which illustrate well the great clearness and adequacy of expression which mark this play are the first dialogue between Brutus and Cassius, I, ii, 25–181, and the speech in which Brutus refuses to bind the conspirators by an oath, II, i, 114–140.

Let us examine the account of the swimming-match between Cassius and Cæsar, I, ii, 97-115. Cassius narrates the incident in vigorous language, but there are no intensely condensed phrases. We receive a slight impression of wordiness, even when no particular word or phrase seems superfluous "We both have fed as well" contributes little strength to the passage. The stirring line, "And stemming it with hearts of controversy," adds little to the thought. long and explicit close is a good specimen of the rhetorical largeness which delights us in this play :—

"I, as Eneas our great ancestor

Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder

The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber
Did I the tired Cæsar."


Clearness, fullness of language-with occasional overfull- and loftiness may be said to be three marked qualities of the style of this play.


We have seen that Julius Cæsar was probably written in 1599, that is, near the middle of Shakespeare's career as a playwright. It was then that his style showed the general characteristics we have just indicated; though, naturally, loftiness is not a prominent feature in the style of the comedies written at this period.

For the sake of comparison with the style of Julius Cæsar and of the middle portion of Shakespeare's career as a play

wright, let us look for a moment at the style of his earliest, and the style of his latest, plays. "In the earliest plays," says Dowden, "the language is sometimes as it were a dress put upon the thought a dress ornamented with superfluous care; the idea is at times hardly sufficient to fill out the language in which it is put" (Shakspere Primer, p. 37).

It is not easy to illustrate by specimen passages the early style of Shakespeare; but the following beautiful comparison shows, among other things, how long, in one of his first plays, he was willing to dwell upon one idea:

"The current that with gentle murmur glides,

Thou knowst, being stopp'd, impatiently doth rage;
But when his fair course is not hindered,

He makes sweet music with the enamell'd stones,
Giving a gentle kiss to every sedge

He overtaketh in his pilgrimage.

And so by many winding nooks he strays
With willing sport to the wild ocean.

Then let me go, and hinder not my course :

I'll be as patient as a gentle stream

And make a pastime of each weary step,

Till the last step have brought me to my love;
And there I'll rest, as after much turmoil

A blessed soul doth in Elysium."

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Concerning the style of Cymbeline, The Tempest, and The Winter's Tale,-probably the last three complete plays that Shakespeare wrote, Hudson says in substance: these plays abound in "overcrammed and elliptical passages which show too great a rush and press of thought for the author's space." Although it is impossible by means of specimen passages to give any proper conception of the condensation, the energy, the audacity, and the intense expression of physical and moral beauty which mark Shakespeare's latest style, yet I venture to cite a few brief extracts.

In the following lines Imogen is speaking to the servant who has accompanied her husband to his ship:

"I would thou grew'st unto the shores o' the haven,

And question'dst every sail : if he should write,
And I not have it, 'twere a paper lost,

As offer'd mercy is."

This means,

"'twere a paper lost, which would be as welcome to me as offered mercy is to a condemned criminal." A few lines later Imogen says:

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"ere I could

Give him that parting kiss which I had set
Betwixt two charming words, comes in my father,
And, like the tyrannous breathing of the north,
Shakes all our buds from growing."

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In The Winter's Tale Perdita, talking of flowers, speaks


"The marigold, that goes to bed wi' the sun,
And with him rises weeping


That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty; violets dim,

But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes

Or Cytherea's breath." — IV, iv, 105–106, 118-122.


Mr. P. A. Daniel finds that the action of the play-covers six days represented on the stage, with intervals (Transac tions of New Shakspere Society, 1877-1879, p. 199), as follows:

Day 1. Act I, scenes i and ii.

Interval -one month. [See note to I, iii, 1.]

Day 2. Act I, scene iii.

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The duration of the action according to real history may be seen in the following table, taken from Verity's edition of the play :

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The student should note the different ways in which Shakespeare has departed from the historic time, and try to see why each change was made.


Shakespeare derived the materials for three of his plays from Sir Thomas North's translation of Bishop Amyot's French version of Plutarch's Lives. North's Plutarch was first published in 1579. The three dramas in which Shakespeare made extensive use of Plutarch are Julius Cæsar, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus. The story dramatized in the play of Julius Caesar is touched upon with more or less fullness in three of the 'Lives,' those of Marcus Brutus, Julius Cæsar, and Marcus Antonius. It is hoped that all the passages in Plutarch which can be identified as con

tributing toward the play will be found in the Appendix to this edition.

Gervinus speaks as follows concerning the indebtedness of Shakespeare to his source in the composition of this play:

"The component parts of our drama are borrowed from the biographies of Brutus and Cæsar in such a manner that not only the historical action in its ordinary course, but also the single characteristic traits in incidents and speeches, nay, even single expressions and words, are taken from Plutarch; even those which are not anecdotal or of an epigrammatic nature, and which any one unacquainted with Plutarch would consider in form and manner to be quite Shakespearian, being not unfrequently quoted as his peculiar property, and as evidencing the poet's deep knowledge of human nature. From the triumph over Pompey (or rather over his sons), the silencing of the two tribunes, and the crown offered at the Lupercalian feast, until Cæsar's murder, and from thence to the battle of Philippi and the closing words of Antony, which are in part exactly as they were delivered, all in this play is essentially Plutarch. The omens of Cæsar's death, the warnings of the augur and of Artemidorus, the absence of the heart in the animal sacrificed, Calpurnia's dream; the peculiar traits of Cæsar's character, his superstition regarding the touch of barren women in the course, and his remarks about thin people like Cassius; all the circumstances about the conspiracy where no oath was taken, the character of Ligarius, the leaving out of Cicero; the whole relation of Portia to Brutus, her selfinflicted wound, her words, his reply, her subsequent anxiety and death; the circumstances of Cæsar's death, the very arts and means of Decius Brutus to induce him to leave home, all the minutest particulars of his murder, the behaviour of Antony and its result, the murder of the poet Cinna; further on, the contention between the republican friends respecting Lucius Pella and the refusal of the money, their difference of opinion concerning the decisive battle, their conversation about suicide, the appearance of Brutus's evil genius, the mistakes in the battle, its double issue, its repetition, the suicide of both friends, and Cassius's death by the same sword with which he killed Cæsar-all is

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