If Caesar Had Stabbed Their Mothers

Enthusiasm for political leaders that supersedes even attachment to family.

Shakespeare, Tragedy of Julius Caesar 2.1

Casca: … And so he fell. When he came to himself again, he said, if he had done or said anything amiss, he desired their worships to think it was his infirmity. Three or four wenches where I stood cried, “Alas, good soul!” and forgave him with all their hearts. But there’s no heed to be taken of them. If Caesar had stabbed their mothers they would have done no less.

Donald Trump, January 25, 2016– NPR among others:

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?” Trump remarked at a campaign stop at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. “It’s, like, incredible.”

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Lola Butler, New York Times, March 4, 2016

“I personally am disgusted by it — I think it’s disgraceful,” said Lola Butler, 71, a retiree from Mandeville, La., who voted for Mr. Romney in 2012. “You’re telling me who to vote for and who not to vote for? Please.”

“There’s nothing short of Trump shooting my daughter in the street and my grandchildren — there is nothing and nobody that’s going to dissuade me from voting for Trump,” Ms. Butler said.

Postscript. And, now from a NYT review of a production of “Julius Caesar” in Central Park this summer, June 10, 2017:

But the loudest alarm in this cacophony of cautionary Trump tales is the one now sounding from the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, where the Public Theater’s wild production of “Julius Caesar” has been in previews since May 23. (It opens officially on Monday.) Its depiction of a petulant, blondish Caesar in a blue suit, complete with gold bathtub and a pouty Slavic wife, takes onstage Trump-trolling to a startling new level. …

Indeed, Mr. Eustis has added just three words to the text, which is otherwise reduced by about a quarter. The line “If Caesar had stabbed their mothers, they would have done no less” has been updated by the insertion of the words “on Fifth Avenue” before the comma. The audience roars.

 

 

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About Uncomely and Broken

I teach Latin and Greek at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.
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