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Paperback Henry V Book

ISBN: 0486268764

ISBN13: 9780486268767

Henry V

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Book Overview

Based on Plutarch's account of the lives of Brutus, Julius Caesar, and Mark Antony, Julius Caesar was the first of Shakespeare's Roman history plays. Presented for the first time in 1599, the play reveals the great dramatist's consummate ability to explore and express the most profound human emotions and instincts. So clearly and urgently does it impact its insights into history and human behavior, Julius Caesar is traditionally among the first of...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Excellent support, some questions remain...

I bought this book yesterday. 1. What I like: The presence of "normal" English on every facing page means that my brain can take a break if it gets tired of the Elizabethan English on the left-hand page. It's kind of like those platforms that break up a long stairway. They are meant to give the heart a rest but not by stopping your walking (you can stop on the steps, too, after all). Both science and experience have shown that continuing to climb stairs, without a horizontal segment to break the stress, causes the cardiac tension to build and build until, in some cases, heart failure occurs. Even a short interval of a couple of seconds of horizontal walking is enough to break that cycle. This is why those platforms are mandated. The modern English in this book serves the same purpose. For a few moments, your brain can just...relax. Yet, you are still reading and making progress. You don't need to stop (which is dangerous because you might not start again!). The cycle of tension is broken and you can continue, refreshed. 2. What I don't like: Some things are not explained. For example, "Pompey's blood..." Most readers will assume this means the blood of his body, since he was, after all, killed in battle by Caesar's forces. According to Asimov (Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare), this is incorrect. "...blood" actually refers to Pompey's son, who was recently killed in Spain. This Spanish battle was the occasion for the triumph being discussed in this section of the play (Act I, scene i). This book does not explain this at all, and yet explaining these kinds of ambiguous words is the very raison d'etre of this book. Conclusion: If you need a little support when reading Shakespeare (and I certainly do), I highly recommend this book. But, take it with a small grain of salt. It is excellent support but it is not perfect. What it will do is this: it will get you back to reading Shakespeare! I sure wouldn't want to walk upstairs without those little platforms to break the stress. Buy it now.

Roman Revolution

Julius Caesar is a classic book that everyone should read. This play of Shakespeare tells an accurate story of the Roman Revolution of 40 BC. This is a excellent play and great to watch on movie or as a play, but it works well in book form and also makes the script easier to analyze. Under scrutiny, you can see the subtle hints that Shakespeare makes about monarchy being better than a republic. Shakespeare, growing up in the monarchy of Great Britain. This play is about Brutus and the other conspirators trying to assassinate Caesar because he has amassed too much power and they are afraid he might try and become a king. Julius Caesar, although given many warnings, went on the the house of the senate on the ides of March. There he was killed by the conspirators, of whom Brutus, Caesar's friends, was one. The play portrays one of the most influential revolutions. It show the history and what Shakespeare thinks of the time. This play is mostly accurate to the real history of this time and effectively shows what time was like at this time. On of the major themes in this play was the cycle of violence. In the beginning, "God" allowed Caesar to become near ruler. Then Brutus and the conspirators question God's decision by killing Caesar. There is divine retribution signified by the war, and then peace is restored.

Roman political intrigue meets Elizabethan drama

Not much is more sensational than the assassination of a major public figure; reading Act 3, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," in which the title character is stabbed and hacked to death by half a dozen conspirators, I feel like I'm depriving myself of a thrilling theatrical spectacle that must be seen to be appreciated. It is not necessary to know much about Caesar to sense the power of the drama; the play provides just enough background and information about Caesar's personality to suggest the reason for his murder and its consequences.In historical actuality, Caesar's murder was in some ways the pivot around which Rome transformed from a republic into an empire, and the play, which Shakespeare bases faithfully on Plutarch's histories, is ultimately about the political struggle that drives this transformation. The main conspirator against Caesar, and the one to deal him the final blow, is Brutus, who foresees nothing but tyranny if Caesar is made a king. There is something atavistic about his attitude, for he is descended from the family that was instrumental in turning the kingdom of Rome into a republic five centuries earlier.The scenes leading up to Caesar's murder build with forceful tension. We see Brutus discussing with his co-conspirator Cassius the dangers of Caesar's ascension and Cassius's sympathetic response, the conspirators meeting at night to plan their attack on Caesar in the Capitol, Caesar's disregard of a soothsayer's prophecies of doom, and then the bloody climax, even after which the drama loses not a bit of momentum: Brutus appeals to the people (the Plebeians) that the assassination of Caesar, whom they loved and did not at all consider a potential tyrant, was only for their own good; while Mark Antony, one of Caesar's triumvirate and an eloquent orator, cajoles the people with demagogic irony into suspecting the murder happened for no reason other than malice.Shakespeare fashions Caesar and Brutus more or less as two sides of the same denarius. Caesar is physically frail and deaf in one ear, but that doesn't preclude his triumphant success as a general and a military strategist. He is also pompous and fatuously vain -- there is nothing he fears more than to appear cowardly to his peers. Brutus is cut out of the same stock of hubris, but his motivations are purely altruistic. He loves Rome -- as a republic -- and will do anything to save it from a dictator, even kill a man he considers a friend and attempt to ally himself with foreign nations to wage a civil war against the armies of the now-empowered Roman triumvirate. Shakespeare brings all of this to light in a humanistic portrait of one of the most fascinating figures from history and his idealistic destroyer.

Shakespeare Outdoes Himself!

This was the first play performed at the Globe Theatre. For that reason alone, this play deserves special attention. But the characters, the language, and this interesting situation represent Shakespeare's finest efforts. Cassius is ruthless with a malicious attitude. But he honestly fears what Caesar will do if he is crowned. Brutus is a good and honest man. He contemplates joining Cassius to kill Caesar despite the fact that Caesar loves him as a friend. (In history as well, Caesar was notably kind to Brutus.) But yet he too fears that if Caesar is crowned, Rome will bleed. Mark Antony is convincing as Caesar's loyal aid who SEEMS insignificant at first. But after Caesar is killed, he emerges as the most powerful and intelligent character in the play. What makes this play so phenomenal is that we can easily understand and sympathize with any of these major characters. (Even though they are on opposite sides.) What's left? Only chilling omens like the Soothsayer, the storm, the ghost of Caesar, etc. Only memorable passages like Mark Antony's famous 'honorable' speech. If you like this play, I suggest the B & W version where James Mason does Brutus, John Gielgud does Cassius, and Marlon Brando does Mark Antony.

summaries excellent; easy to follow and study afterwards

i definitely recommend this book. i am a sophomore in high school, and i usually despise reading shakespearean works, but this book spells out everything for you and has review questions in the back to help you study. A++
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