Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Self-Referential Shakespeare

In the final scene of Macbeth, the hero enters asking, "Why should I play the Roman fool, and die on mine own sword?"

In the final scene of Julius Caesar, Brutus tries to convince one of his soldiers, "Good Volumnius, Thou know'st that we two went to school together: Even for that our love of old, I prithee, Hold thou my sword-hilts, whilst I run on it."

Anybody got another spot where it looks like one Shakespeare play references another?

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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

From "Hamlet":
Polonius. I did enact Julius Caesar; I was kill'd i' th' Capitol; Brutus
kill'd me.

Preya said...

But, is this referencing another of his plays, or just the actual story of Julius Caesar that he based his play on?

Duane said...

Well to be fair, Preya, I did say "looks like."

Is it known for sure whether Julius Caesar was performed before Hamlet? I thought I recalled Shakespeare wrote them in the same year. If so, then it certainly could be an inside joke - it could actually be true that the actor playing Polonius really did play Caesar! I'm sure the audience would have gotten a kick out of that.

Anonymous said...

preya raises a good question and I don't know the answer, but it's interesting that Shakespeare mentions Julius Caesar at least three different times in "Hamlet".