Laudare Necesse Est

Gábor Ittzés
1998 Anachronist  
The claim that Shakespeare's .fu!t11.r Cae . .-ar is profoundly, though by no means exclusively, concerned with praise is a claim that hardly needs much argument to b e accepte d. As a Roman play, it draws attention to the rich rhetorical tradition of praise in Classical I\ntiqum •, beginning, in a sense, with i\ri stotle but also flour ishin g in Cicero 's Latin oratory; as an E lizabe th an play, it in vites us to turn to the Renaissance appr opr iati on of the Classical heritage or, to give
more » ... he sixtee nth cen tury it s due, to th e literature on praise in the century after tl1e Reformation . Muc h can be and has been said on th ese heads, 1 but I do not wish to tak e either of these obv ious path s. Instead, I choo se a different, ;_ md perhap s much more limit ed, approach as suggest ed by the subtitle of this p ape r. Brutus ' legitimisation of killing Caesa r largely dep en ds on hi s linguistic transformation of the murder into sacr ifice. The controv ersy over the sacri ficial interpretation of Caesar's assassination is central to the power str uggle between Bn1tus and An ton y. Further, there is mu ch non -ver bal ( cer em oni al, ritual, cul tic) praise expr esse d and even expected in ]11/ius Caesar. The play begins o n this note, with the tribunes "disrob[ing] the images . .. dec ked with ceremonies," 2 and a lon g list could b e 1 See, e.g., Andr:is Ki:;cn-. "The Rhe toric o f \Vound s: Per suasion in Juli11 s Caesar' in 1\ gnes Peter er al., ed s., 1988) I.i.63-6 4.
doi:10.53720/asfw4684 fatcat:qceooy5etndprj3t4y3pw57dwe