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Scla 40 great caesar’s ghost!

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Scla 40 great caesar’s ghost!

  1. 1. GR EAT CAE SAR ’ S GHOST! Presented by: Brandy Stark, PhD Society for Comparative Literature and the Arts Conference (SCLA 40) Oct. 11, 2014
  2. 2. GHOSTS IN DRAMA  Elizabethan Drama: New textual studies presented new ideas concerning ghosts (psychological over religious reasons)  Pop- religion, local folklore: Mix of Catholic (ecclesiastical, Purgatory) and Protestant ideals (church control, insanity; evil spirits)  Drawn from history of Classical ideas; Seneca (major source for drama in the Middle Ages) • Ghosts with a purpose: revenge remained a major topic along with protection of loved one, prophesy, requesting burial, or as an omen of death • Lost some of the melodrama: less crude, heightened the imaginative horror of them (Rogers 88; Stoll 205)
  3. 3. RELIGIOUS/TRUE GHOST  Hamlet: • Ghost seen by guards; skeptical Horatio also sees and attempts to speak to the ghost (fails) • Clearly identified as the murdered king through appearance (others identify him) and through self-admission • When asked by Hamlet to speak, ghost describes himself as having to spend a period of time as a ghost (Purgatory) • Hamlet converses with ghost who describes his own murder and calls for revenge upon his murderer • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZQ5ryS-YvM
  4. 4. INSANITY/SUGGESTION  Richard III • Ghosts appear by bedside (Iliad, classical references) • Dream-based • No one else experiences the ghost; his restless state is • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX8zbNEw448  Macbeth: • No one else but Macbeth sees the spirit • Excuses are made that the king is tired • Macbeth has additional hallucinations (bloody dagger) • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nre482NEosQ
  5. 5. GR EAT CAE SAR ’ S GHOS T Cited as one of the most uninteresting of Shakespeare’s ghosts (Rogers 79). Act 4, Scene 3, Lines 275 – 285 TEXT: http://www.shakespeare-online. com/plays/julius_4_3.html 1950s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owx P0h0Lw1s Africa: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xN hBAU6sZQ (4 minutes)
  6. 6. Classical/Historical RePferLencUe: TARCH’S ACCOUNT PLUTARCH’S ACCOUNT ….He thought he heard a noise at the door of his tent, and looking that way, by the light of his lamp, which was almost out, saw a terrible figure, like that of a man, but of unusual stature and severe countenance. He was somewhat frightened at first, but seeing it neither did nor spoke anything to him, only stood silently by his bed-side, he asked who it was. The specter answered him, "Thy evil genius, Brutus, thou shalt see me at Philippi." Brutus answered courageously, "Well, I shall see you," and immediately the appearance vanished. ….When the time was come, he drew up his army near Philippi against Antony and Caesar, and in the first battle won the day, routed the enemy, and plundered Caesar's camp. The night before the second battle, the same phantom appeared to him again, but spoke not a word. He presently understood his destiny was at hand… http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_text_plutarch_caesar.htm
  7. 7. FOLKLORE  Characteristics that match ghostly folklore: • The ghost generally does not speak until bidden to speak (Stoll 218) • The ghost does speak and the text is oracular (Stoll 217) • Speaks single phrases (pamphlet literature) (Purkiss 143) • Vendetta brings Caesar (confrontation of act of murder) • Though it is night, Brutus does not doubt that the ghost is there or that he is awake (228)
  8. 8. PSYCHOLOGICAL  Characteristics of psychological manifestation:  Caesar’s ghost appears as an abstraction of Brutus • Mesmerized • Echoes in dialogue  Refers to himself as “thy evil spirit” (4.3.280)  Only Brutus witnesses the shade  Emotional turmoil (distress) in the prior scene (Portia’s death and after a fight/make up with Cassius)  Brutus kills himself citing Caesar’s ghost (Purkiss 145) • “Caesar now be still/I killed not thee with half so good a will” (5.5.50-1) • Image: Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre at Stephen Foster Memorial, Oakland. (April 2007) Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/ae/theater-dance/stage-review-pict- praises-julius-caesar-on-grand-scale-481362/#ixzz2PF3H8MxH
  9. 9. UNIQUELY SHAKESPEARE • Tied to the times: • Elizabeth is an aged queen • Like Caesar, she has no legitimate male heir • People fear her death; more war • In the play, Caesar is power • Worries of legitimate succession • Shift of power must go to Augustus; all others suffer (Rosen xix) • Deaths of conspirators brings political restoration • Shakespeare/Elizabethans: “Established order is preferable to chaotic and violent change” (Rosen xxi)
  10. 10. WHAT DO YOU THINK?  Shakespeare is a master with ghosts  Ties ancient to modern; moves the ghostly role to a new format  His works reflect the times • Psychological • Legitimate • Symbolic  Caesar’s Ghost is NOT the least interesting! • Ties timelessness of power that goes beyond death • Reputation that lasts eternally • Punishment for acts against the state; restoration possible (hope)
  11. 11. WORKS CONSULTED Brockett, Oscar G., and Franklin J. Hildy. History of the Theatre. New York: Pearson, 2007. Print. Felton, D. Haunted Greece and Rome: Ghost Stories from Classical Antiquity. Austin: University of Texas, 2000. Print. Finucane, R. C. Appearances of the Dead: A Cultural History of Ghosts. London: Junction, 1982. Print. Hudson, H.N. Shakespeare: His Life, Art and Characters: An Historical Sketch of the Origin and Growth of the Drama in England. Vol. 2, 4th ed. Boson: Ginn & Company, 1891. 228-258. Print. Marshall, Jonathan Paul, Dr. "Apparitions, Ghosts, Fairies, Demons and Wild Events: Virtuality in Early Modern Britain." Journal for the Academic Study of Magic 3 (2006): 141-74. Print. Muir, Kenneth. "Folklore and Shakespeare." Folklore 92.2 (1981): 231-40. Print. Plutarch. Julius Caesar. Trans. S. H. Butcher. Ancient/Classical History. About.com, d.u. Web. 1 Apr. 2013. http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_text_plutarch_caesar.htm Purkiss, Diane. “Shakespeare, Ghosts, and Popular Folklore”. Shakespeare and Elizabethan Popular Culture. Stuart Gillespie and Niel Rhodes, Ed. London: Thompson, 2006. Print Roberts, Jon. Introduction: Lunatics and Lovers. Midsummer Night’s Dream. Betram et al, eds. New York: Quality Paperback Books Club, 1997. v – ix. Print. Rogers, L. W. The Ghosts in Shakespeare. 4th printing ed. Wheaten: Theosophical, 1966. Print. Rosen, William and Barbara. Introduction. The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. New York: Signet Classics, 1998. Xiii- xxii. Print. Stoll, Elmer Edgar. "The Objectivity of the Ghosts in Shakespeare." Modern Language Association 22.2 (1907): 201-33. Print.

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