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Histoire et secret à la Renaissance

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François Laroque

I. Autour de Jules César

A Savage Spectacle: Julius Caesar and the English Revolution

Richard Wilson

Résumé

Dans les décennies qui précédèrent la Guerre Civile, les Anglais se sont changés en une “nation de prophètes”, essayant de voir dans les événements quotidiens et dans les textes anciens des présages des temps à venir. Ainsi, la cour de Charles Ier était-elle hantée par des astrologues et des devins qu’on ne pouvait pas taxer de simple délire quand ils prédisaient la mort du roi. Et quand elle finit par advenir en 1649, les pièces de Shakespeare furent elles-mêmes citées corne des “prologues de cette fatale tragédie qui suivit”. Le fait de citer des textes prophétiques, ceux de Lucain par exemple, suggère que cette causalité mystérieuse était bien au cœur d’une pièce comme Julius Caesar, où l’assassinat du dictateur semble répéter le sacrifice humain rituellement célébré à Rome lors des inaugurations. Or Julius Caesar fut écrit pour l’inauguration du Globe… Des critiques comme René Girard ont montré comment la tragédie a successivement reflété le sacrifice humain, le sacrifice animal puis le sacrifice mimétique. Mais le sang de boucherie versé sur la scène du Globe à la fin de ce siècle funeste pour l’Angleterre était un augure laissant présager qu’il n’y avait rien d’irréversible dans une telle progression. Comme ces rites cannibales avant-coureurs des guerres de religions en France, le “spectacle sauvage” des entrailles romaines dans l’œuvre de Shakespeare pouvait effectivement se lire comme l’annonciateur d’une révolution.

Texte intégral

  • 1 Wilbur, C. Abbott (ed.), Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, 3 vols., Cambridge, Mass.: Harv (...)
  • 2 Ibid., Christopher Hill, God’s Englishman: Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution, Harmondswor (...)

1On July 10 1649 Oliver Cromwell rode in state through London in a coach drawn by six white horses flanked by lifeguards with trumpets “sounding almost to the shaking of Charing Cross”1, en route for Ireland and the bloodiest civil war in British history. As his cavalcade left Whitehall three chaplains invoked God’s blessing, and Henry Ireton, “the best prayer-maker in the army”, expounded “some places of Scripture excellently well, and pertinent to the occasion”2.

  • 3 Christopher Hill, Society and Puritanism in Pre-Revolutionary England, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 198 (...)
  • 4 Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution, Harmo (...)
  • 5 Andrew Marvell, “An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland”, 23-24, 65-72, 101, The Comp (...)
  • 6 D. R. Woolf, The Idea of History in Early Stuart England, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 19 (...)

2Charles I had warned his son that “People are governed more by the pulpit than the sword”3, and six months after his execution the sermonizing on the same site confirmed the English as a nation of prophets, in the words of Christopher Hill, who discovered during the Revolution “a new profession” in prophecy: “whether as interpreters of stars, myths, or the Bible”4. A year later, Andrew Marvell would indeed bail Cromwell’s victories by likening the King’s beheading to the human sacrifice with which the Romans were said to have insured their luck: “So when they did design / The Capitol’s first line, / A bleeding head where they begun, / Did fright the architects to run; / And yet in that the State / Foresaw its happy fate”. By this light it was the decapitation that “assured” Cromwell’s “forced power” and foretold how he would be “A Cæsar to Gaul”; but as he crossed his Rubicon the crowd evidently shared Marvell’s unease when “Cæsar’s head at last / Did through his laurels blast”, since “If you say ’Cæsar or nothing’”, one newspaper reported, “they say ’A republic or nothing’”5. As D.R. Woolf has commented, the idea of history in Stuart England was that “even the unexpected was foreshadowed, if one could but read the signs”; yet the trouble with Roman history for this hermeneutic community was that it could be viewed as a portent either of tyranny or freedom6. Such, in fact, was the ambivalence with which Shakespeare had saluted Essex, Cromwell’s doomed predecessor in Ireland, on the eve of his attempted coup d’état, fifty years before, in Henry V:

But now behold.
In the quick forge and working-house of thought,
How London doth pour out her citizens!
The Mayor and all bis brethren in best sort,
Like to the senators of th’antique Rome,
With the plebeians swarming at their heels,
Go forth and fetch their conquering Cæsar in ;
As by a lower but by loving likelihood,
Were now the general of our gracious Empress,
As in good times be may, front Ireland coming,
Bringing rebellion broached on his sword,
How many would the peaceful city quit,
To welcome him! (Henry V, Chorus V.22-34)

  • 7 Lois Potter, Secret Rites and Secret Writing: Royalist Literature, 1641-1660, Cambridge: Cambridge (...)
  • 8 Ibid., p. 208.
  • 9 Hill, op. cit., note 43, p. 279.
  • 10 Ernest Sirluck, “Shakespeare and Jonson Among the Pamphleteers of the First Civil War: Some Unrepo (...)
  • 11 Potter, op. cit., (note 7), p. 191.

3 Henry V was written immediately prior to Julius Caesar, in early summer 1599, and its comparison of the king, “Bringing rebellion broached on his sword” and “naked infants spitted upon pikes” (III.3.38), with Cæsar and the Earl of Essex, exactly anticipates Marvell’s apprehension of the spectre of Cæsarism in Cromwell’s Roman triumph. Elsewhere, Marvell would ridicule the Shakespearean trick of telescoping past and present, when he claimed to have seen a troupe of actors perform a play in which Moses tried to persuade Cæsar not to cross the Rubicon7; but, as Lois Potter shows in her survey of Royalist writing, both sides in England’s Civil War would encode experience in the same intertextual history, and both would imitate the Elizabethan stage, with its Providentialist belief in “secret purposes as the explanations of all human events”8. If the “wooden 0” of the Globe was a “working-house of thought”, as the Althusserian Chorus of Henry V teaches, where ideas were manufactured as “ciphers” to the “great account” of which armourers with “busy hammers” were giving “dreadful note of preparation” (Chorus 1.16; IV.12-14), it was logical, therefore, that the combatants of the 1640s should find legitimation in a drama which had been so certain of its own prophetic status. So, while Hill wonders “how conscious Shakespeare was of what he was doing”, when he repeated prophecies like Merlin’s, that Albion would soon “come to great confusion” (King Lear, III.2.85)9; it can be no accident that republicans quoted Shakespeare “approximately twice as often as royalists”10; nor that, as Potter demonstrates, both sides adopted the Shakespearean metaphor of the State as a stage to express the stoic “idea that we have no choice as to the part we play, but must act as well. as possible”11. Thus, when Charles I was seized by the Army in June 1647, the royalist newspaper Mercurius Melancholicus reacted with an editorial that actually set the scene for his assassination, by inscribing England’s future word for word within Horatio’s bleak prognostication of the State of Denmark:

  • 12 Mercurius Melancholicus: Or News from Westminster, 5 (September 25 - October 2 1647), Joad Raymond (...)

In the most palmed State and flourishing age of Rome, a little before the mighty Julius Cæsar fell by the hands of the bloody Senators (a preludium to the sack and ruin of the City which shortly after did ensue), there were strange and prodigious apparitions seen riding their Circuits in the Elements, as dreadful Eclipses, bushy Meteors, and staring Cornets, wand’ring ghosts, and spirits shrieking and gibbering in the streets of Rome, the Clouds, instead of rain, dropping blood and the like: these were but death’s harbingers, and so many silent Prologues pointing to that fatal Tragedy which did ensue12.

  • 13 Potter, op. cit. (note 7), pp. 121, 145; Marvell, op. cit. (note 5), “Horatian Ode”, pp. 25-26.
  • 14 John Milton, Paradise Lost, II, 533-538, Poetical Works, ed. Douglas Bush, Oxford: Oxford Universi (...)
  • 15 Blair Worden, “Classical Republicanism and the Puritan Revolution”, in Hugh Lloyd Jones (ed.), His (...)
  • 16 Roma Gill (ed.), The Complete Works of Christopher Marlowe, 7 vols., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987 (...)

4What is melancholy about such messengers, Potter remarks, is a fatalism they share with melancholics like Hamlet, a passivity expressed by Marvell when he salutes Cromwell by conceding “’Tis madness to resist or blame / The force of angry heaven’s flame”; and imaged in the frontispiece to William Lilly’s Starry Messenger of 1645, where “strange apparitions in the sky” portend “extraordinary mutations in the Commonwealths of Europe”13. This is the melancholia that in Shakespeare’s play clouds Cæsar’s triumph with the same repertoire of “apparent prodigies”: ghosts who “shriek and squeal about the streets”; comets that “blaze forth the death of princes”; and aerial warriors who “drizzle blood upon the Capitol”. Like Van Dyck’s haemorrhaging sunsets, these “exhalations whizzing in the air” (II.2.44, 198; 2.15-25) are signs, Milton says, “when to warn proud cities war appears / Wag’d in the troubl’d sky, and armies rush / To battle in the clouds”14; but, as Blair Worden notes in his analysis of Marvell’s Ode, the key aspect of such phenomena is their locus classicus in Lucan’s Pharsalia, wrere what the thunder says is that the victor’s Crossing of the Rubicon makes him both a conqueror to Gaul, and “To Italy” — or England, by implication — “an Hannibal”15. Marlowe’s translation was the source, editors infer, of the lions, eclipses, monstrous births and ominous birds, which precede Cæsar’s death in Shakespeare16; suggesting that there too they might be viewed as warnings against tyranny as much as assassination. Certainly, it was Lucan’s report of the panicstriken Romans deserting the city to appease Cæsar with sacrifices which prompted Shakespeare’s image of the Mayor and citizens swarming to greet Essex; and the same ancestral voices prophesying civil war are heard in Julius Caesar when, “plucking the entrails of an offering forth”, the augurers “could not find a heart within the beast” (39-40). For this incident is based partly on Lucan’s climax, where Cæsar’s sacrificial bull bleeds not blood but poison; and it has a macabre extratextual aura, as it was the passage that the poet himself declaimed when he committed suicide, rendering his own body, if Montaigne is to be believed, an augury against Cæsar:

  • 17 Michel de Montaigne, “On the affection of fathers for their children”, The Complete Essays, trans. (...)

Lucan was a good man, condemned to die by that blackguard Nero. In the last moments of his life, when most of his blood had already gushed from his veins (he had ordered his doctors to kill him by slashing them), and when cold had already seized his hands and feet and was starting to draw near his vital organs, the very last thing that he remembered were these verses from his Pharsalia. He recited them, and died with them on his lips17.

  • 18 Ben Jonson, Sejanus his Fall, ed. W.F. Bolton, London: Ernest Benn, 1966, III.l.451-452.
  • 19 Hill, op. cit. (note 4), p. 92.
  • 20 Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seven (...)
  • 21 Ibid., p. 466; Jerome Friedman, Miracles and the Pulp Press During the English Revolution: The Bat (...)

5In Montaigne, Lucan’s suicide follows that of Cremutius, who starved himself when his books were burned for praising Brutus. Dramatised in Sejanus, this story implied that even dead writers might “Incense the people in a civil cause, / With dangerous speeches” by Cæsar’s killers18. Like the lynching of Cinna, such tales sensationalised the power of words to determine even the death of authors, and became keynotes for an age that imagined, Hill suggests, that through prophetic texts “men could escape the forces that ruled their world”19. It was in such an avid interpretive community that Shakespeare’s civil war play may have been read as premonitory, staging as it did the prompting by an entire archive of oracular scripts: the papers scattered before Brutus or “thrown in at his window” (I.3.142-146); the schedule thrust Into Cæsar’s hand by Artemidorus (III.1.3); the Iliad, recited to the assassins; Cæsar’s speeches; his will; and lastly his own Civil War: the work, presumably, which Brutus carries “in the pocket of his gown” and from which materialises the Ghost the instant he finds “the leaf turn’d down’ in his reading (IV.3.252-274). If Cassius’s incitements are like Stuart predictions said to have been found by masons or recovered from chamber pots, Cæsar’s book has metadramatic status in token of those prophecies seventeenth century readers purported to locate in ancient tomes, according to Keith Thomas, where they were sure the Civil War had been foretold by Virgil or Savonarola20. Thomas describes the cult of the sybilline-oracles, and comments that English poets such as Raleigh, Spenser and George Wither were read in the light of these Roman oracles, as if they too had had fore-knowledge: an illusion living poets were happy to encourage. As Jerome Friedman remarks in a recent study, “any old text, properly done up, might excite speculation in support of revolution”, and a society which found an anagram of “O Cromwell” in “Howl Rome” had no ploblem in predicting the second Corning from lines by Chaucer21. And as Mercurius Melancholicus shows, with its editorial via Julius Caesar and Hamet, Shakespeare quickly joined the intertextual ranks of those whose words were seen as “Prologues pointing to that fatal Tragedy which did ensue”.

  • 22 Marvell, “Horatian Ode”, op. cit. (note 5), pp. 49, 54-55.
  • 23 Margery Garber, Shakespeare’s Ghost Writing: Literature as Uncanny Causality, London: Methuen, 198 (...)
  • 24 Michael Dobson, The Making of the National Poet: Shakespeare, Adaptation and Authorship, 1660-1769 (...)
  • 25 Ibid., p. 140.

6A month after this editorial was printed, Charles made the naive escape bid Marvell described as a net woven by Cromwell out of “subtle fears with hope” to trap him in his fate: “That thence the royal actor born / The tragic scaffold might adorn”22. So, what evidently struck the Melancholy Mercury, as it does the editors of Hamlet and Julius Caesar, was that sense of “uncanny causality” which Shakespeare concocted out of Lucan with his version of the signs that foretell revolution in even “the most high and palmy State”: those “harbingers preceding still the fates”, in Horatio’s words, “And prologue to the omen coming on” (Hamlet, 1.1.115-281). For as Margery Garber remarks, in her book entitled Shakespeare’s Ghost Writing, if thinkers such as Marx and Freud were haunted by Shakespearean Rome, that may be because Julius Caesar is itself the spectre that “weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living”: a spirit that ghosted the English and French Revolutions through the quotations with which, Marx says, the revolutionaries draped “the new scene of world history in time-honoured disguise and borrowed language”23. Every quotation, Garber explains, is itself a ghost or return of the repressed; and this was certainly how Julius Cæsar was read after 1660, when, as Michael Dobson recounts In The Making of the National Poet, the Bard was invoked “on the side of heroic resistance” to government; as in 1737, when his play was revived in expectation that “While Brutus [bled] for liberty and Rome”, Britons would “crowd to deck the poet’s tomb”24. Dobson concedes that Julius Caesar could be appropriated as much “for Jacobite idealizations of lost Stuart rule as Whig dreams of Elizabethan liberty”, but he shows how Shakespeare came to occupy the position of a father figure, whose text “could easily be read as sympathetic to… vengeful, reforming Brutuses”25. Such, at least, was the implication of the pageant performed at Covent Garden in 1739, when the ghost of the Bard appeared, conflated with those of Cæsar and Old Hamlet, to demand his rights of authorship over British history:

  • 26 London Daily Post and General Advertiser, April 12 1739.

Immortal Shakespeare! We thy claim admit;
For, like thy Cæsar, thou art mighty yet!
Thy spirit walks abroad!26

  • 27 Sigmund Freud, “The Uncanny”, Studies in Parapsychology, ed. Philip Rieff, New York: Collier Books (...)
  • 28 Garber, op. cit. (note 23), pp. 61-62; Hill, op. cit. (note 4), p. 90.
  • 29 Ibid, p. 91.
  • 30 Ibid., pp. 277-278; David Underdown, P ride’s Purge, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971, p. 183
  • 31 Hill, op. cit. (note 4), p. 277.

7In his essay on “The Uncanny”, Freud draws a distinction between “the ghostly apparitions in Hamlet or Julius Caesar”, and the uncanniness that occurs “as soon as the writer pretends to move in the world of reality… and oversteps the bounds of possibilily”27. Yet, as Garber adds, what is uncanny about Julius Caesar is precisely its representation of theatre as the premonition of history, which is bound forever to repeat, “In States unborn and accents yet unknown”, as Brutus exults (III. 1.113), the primal scenario of revolution. And it was just such an uncanny concept of causality, Hill argues, that turned the world upside-down in the years before the Civil War, when as Thomas Fuller complained, the English always carried “an old prophecy about with them in their pockets, which they produce at pleasure to promote their designs”; and the words of Nostradamus were scanned by astrologers such as Lilly to “keep up the spirits of the honest people, soldiery, and Parliament men”, by predicting the violent death of the King28. “Dreams and prophecies do this much good”, reasoned the jurist, John Selden; “they make men to go with boldness upon a danger”; and in his history of the Civil War, Thomas Hobbes agreed that prophecy was “many times the principal cause of the event foretold”29. Clearly, the New Historicist idea of Renaissance literature as a shaping fantasy which creates the culture by which it is created would have been self-evident in “The Island of Great Bedlam”, as it was called, where, as David Underdown shows, Cromwell and Ireton depended on the prophetess Elizabeth Poole during the King’s trial, and mad Lady Eleanor Davies had verses printed foretelling the execution as early as 163330. This was a world where “Arise Evans could hang about Charles I’s court for days on end”, Hill reminds us, “to deliver a message from God announcing how the King would be destroyed”; and where the same madman could call on Cromwell and stay to midnight31. And it was also the world where twice (like Cæsar), in 1636 and 1638, Charles I would hear Shakespeare’s Soothsayer pronounce the most uncanny of warnings, itself the quotation of a quotation, to “Beware the Ides of March” (I.2.18).

  • 32 John Aubrey, Brief Lives, ed. Oliver Lawson Dick, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1962, p. 437.
  • 33 René Girard, “‘Let’ s carve him as a dish fit for the gods’: Sacrificial Cycles in, Julius Caesar(...)

8Shakespeare was the son of a glover and whittawer, or tanner, but it is in the context of the culture of prophecy, and its uncanny concept of causality, that John Aubrey’s famous anecdote can be understood, when he records that “when be was a boy he exercised his father’s trade, and whenever he killed a calf he would do it in high style, and make a speech”32. Though long discounted, critics are again inclined to credit this legend of Shakespeare as a butcher’s boy, and to see in the tanner’s licence to kill a presentiment of the son’s success with parchment and leather. Killing the calf, we are told, was part of a traditional folk game; but when Polonius boasts of having “enacted Julius Cæsar… kill’d i’th’ Capitol. Brutus killed me”, Hamlet’s interprets the play as a prologue to reality, when he puns: “It was a Brute part to kill so capital a calf” (Hamlet, III.2.101-105). Like his promise when Polonius wants to cut their text because it is “too long”—”It shall to the barber’s with your beard” (II.2.494-495) — Hamlet insists that actors are “abstracts and brief chronicles of the lime” to come (II.2.520). Certainly, there seems to have been a forewarning of the old man’s end in the actual custom of killing the calf, which at the Tudor court required the hire of “a man from Windsor”, to slaughter the beast “before my lady’s grace, behind the cloth”. So perhaps Aubrey was not as naive as editors suppose when he took Shakespeare’s butchery for real and saw his “brute part” as proleptic of the player’s art. For by forcing blood onto the stage, René Girard remarks, these plays “go back to what had always been the hidden substance of tragedy and confront us with the foundational violence behind every sacrificial cult”33 What preoccupies Girard is the way such violence was sublimated from human to animal to mimetic sacrifice; but with Shakespeare the reverse process is the focus, as suggested by legends such as the one that may have inspired his characterisation of Cæsar: that, like Nero, the dictator had himself trained as an actor, and “with general applause played Hercules in his own theatre”:

  • 34 For an account of this famous (though probably apocryphal) episode and the representational questi (...)

But being in the depth of passion and so carried away with the violence of his part, he slew another actor dead, and after swung him (as the poet wrote) high above his head34.

  • 35 Potter, op. cit. (note7), p. 190.
  • 36 Havelock Ellis & Arthur Symons (eds.), “Nero” and Other Plays, London: Vizetelly, 1888, p. 37: II. (...)

9Hercules was the bloodcurdling role Bottom had offered to perform; but what the actors are so desperate to avoid in Shakespeare’s Athens is precisely what constantly occurs in Rome, from the moment when, as Casca reports, Cæsar so overacts “the rabblement hooted and clapp’d” and took literally his offer to cut his own throat (1.2.240). Potter recounts an episode in Hampshire in 1649 when ’“a company of young sparks” performed “a Tragedy of the Trial of the late King”, but were so dumbstruck as the audience when during the mime of Charles’s beheading, the Executioner sliced off the actor’s head, explaining “That it was his office, and he acted but his part, as they did theirs”. On that occasion the over-enthusiastic thespian was “committed to safe custody, while the rest of the Tragedians departed in peace to their places of sanctuary”; and whether or not apocryphal, the story testifies, Potter concurs, to a pervasive sense of history as representation, and Charles as the tragic actor of a Shakespearean script35. For in Julius Caesar there is already the sensation of slippage from metaphor to metonymy as what is acted in mere “foolery” (233) becomes an earnest of reality. So, while the actual Roman Carnival had been symbolic, with a slave licensed to play the Lord of Misrule to pre-empt a real revolt, Cæsar’s carnival climaxes when the Fool is so infuriated by the applause of his self-mockery that he falls into an epileptic fit. Shakespeare had invented Cæsar’s deafness to signify his imperceptiveness; and in this inability to control his audience’s reaction he is like other Roman rulers represented at this time, such as the stage-struck Nero in the eponymous play of 1624, whose cabaret act provokes a plot to assassinate him, with poetic justice, on stage: “And so too truly to make it a tragedy; / When all the people cannot choose but clap / So sweet a close”36. Puritans often objected that it was ancient theatres which had turned Rome into a monarchy; but what scenes like this imply instead is that by putting himself upon the boards, the monarch submitted fatally to audience approval:

If the tag-rag people did not clap and hiss him, according as he pleas’d and displeas’d them, as they use to do the players in the theatre, I am no true man. (I.2.255-258)

  • 37 Bruce R. Smith, Ancient Scripts and Modern Experience on the English Stage, 1500-1700, Princeton: (...)
  • 38 Nicolo Machiavelli, The Discourses of Nicolo Machiavelli, trans. L.J. Walker, ed. Bernard Crick, H (...)
  • 39 Thomas Hobbes, Behemoth or The Long Parliament, ed. F. Tonnes, London: Frank Cass, 1969, p. 18.
  • 40 John Milton, “Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio”, The Works of John Milton, ed. F. Patterson, 18 vols. (...)

10Since Julius Caesar was the play written for the opening of The Globe Theatre in 1599, it cannot be chance that it should centre on the architecture which for both classical and contemporary commentators cemented the proximity of the State and stage. Built in 55 BC, and modelled on the circuses he had seen in Greece, Pompey’s theatre was the first stone amphitheatre built in the city; but to answer anti-theatrical prejudice it was designed to incorporate the grandiose portico for the Senate which Shakespeare’s Romans term “Pompey’s porch”. So, if Cæsar does “bestride the narrow world / Like a Colossus” (132), that is because his policy of bread and circuses reduces Rome to the one “room” of a Colosseum: the arena where the Senators convene, Cæsar plans to solemnise his coronation, and where the conspirators plot. As Bruce Smith remarks in his study of Ancient Scripts and the English Stage, in this building where “plays took place side by side with political debate, comparing the two was hard to avoid”, and it was apt that here “the most dramatic event in history was staged: the assassination of Julius Cæsar”37. Such were the implications of the name given to London’s new amphitheatre; and to grasp why Cæsar became a sacrifice for the consecration of the house, it is only necessary to recall his Renaissance reputation as a prime absolutist, and Brutus’s as a parliamentary hero. As Machiavelli. observed: “See what praise they heap on Brutus; Cæsar they dare not fault, so they cry up his enemy”38. No wonder Hobbes concluded that England’s “late rebellion” had been incited by “democratical men” reading “glorious histories” of Roman republicans, “amongst whom kings were branded with the name of tyrant”39. He was thinking, of course, of revolutionaries such as Milton, who excused the execution of Charles by citing Cæsar’s murder, which proved, he claimed, how “It is lawful to call a tyrant to account, and after due process, to depose and put him to death”40. So, when Shakespeare has Brutus do just that, it was crucial that he did so in what seems to be a conscious recollection of the abattoir at Stratford:

Let’s be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Cæsar,
And in the spirit of men there is not blood.
O, that we could come by Cæsar’s spirit
And not dismember Cæsar! But, alas,
Cæsar must bleed for it. And, gentle friends,
Let’s kill him boldly, but not wrathfully,
Let’s carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds. (II.1.166-174)

  • 41 P.E. Jones, The Butchers of London, London: Secker & Warburg, 1976, p. 83.

11Shakespeare had read in Plutarch how Brutus’s fatal mistake had been to spare the life of Antony; but he used imagery of butchery to expose the futility of any such attempt to impose a cordon sanitaire around collective violence. In particular, Brutus’s grotesque idea of Cæsar’s corpse as a “dish” of roast meat carved for some feast, points up the hypocrisy of separating life, or food, from the slaughter on which it depends. And his unintended slip on the word “corpse”, when he argues that, “Our course will seem too bloody… To cut the head off and then hack the limbs… For Antony is but a limb of Cæsar” (162-165), betrays the impossibility of rigging a quarantine around death. Throughout the text Brutus and Cassius are characterised as puritanical Lenten figures, who “read much” but “love no plays”, in contrast to the “fat, / Sleek-headed men” of popish carnival about Cæsar (I.189-200); so in his desire to turn violence into ritual, Brutus corresponds to those puritan city fathers of Shakespearean London who campaigned not only to close the playhouses, but also to force Eastcheap’s butchers to kill cattle out of sight of customers, and in the words of a 1607 decree, “to cause the ordure, bowels, and blood of slain beasts to be carried away in a decent, secret manner, to the end that the Street might be kept sweet and clean, and not to sell it for any other purpose”41. Pudding Lane was the place off Eastcheap assigned for draining blood into the Thames and storing offal (to feed the bears of Bankside); but Brutus will discover that in Rome there is no such sanitary means of disposing waste, so that, as Antony says, his “foul deed will smell above the earth” (III. 1.274). As a slaughterman, Brutus had favoured selective culling, like the ambiguous Renaissance figure of the Lenten butcher, licenced to kill for necessity in Lent; but his name thereby became an ironic pun: through squeamishness, Brutus lacks the brutality for the marketplace, or Forum. Instead, his attempt to stage the Shroving game with Cæsar as scapegoat extends a licence to kill to every cobbler, carpenter and butcher:

And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
Stir up their servants to an act of rage,
And after seem to chide ‘em. This shall make
Our purpose necessary, and not envious;
Which so appearing to the common eyes,
We shall be call’d purgers, and not envious. (II.1.175-180)

  • 42 Maurice Charney, The Roman Plays: The Function of Imagery in the Drama, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard (...)
  • 43 Christina Hole, A Dictionary of British Folk Customs, London: Hutchinson, 1976, p. 88.

12 Julius Caesar was written shortly after As You Like It, and that comedy also has a blooding at its heart, when the hunters drag in the “carcass fit for hounds” of the deer they have chased through Arden. Following the betrothal of Rosalind to Orlando, this stag-night involves the most auspicious of rites, when the deerslayer is drenched in its blood and draped in its “leather skin” like “a Roman conqueror”, with the “horns on his head for a branch of victory” (IV.2.3-11); and the reference to Cæsar’s “triumph over Pompey’s blood” (1.1.51) suggests why, as Maurice Charney noticed in his study of The Roman Plays, the meaning of Julius Caesar revolves around the semiotics of blood. In particular, the hunting symbolism, later arrogated by Antony, confirms the affinity implied by Brutus between Cæsar’s death and the bloodletting that was a rite of passage in early modem societies; where, as folklorists record, “Luck was his who first shed blood”; “To ‘draw blood’ was practised at New Year in belief that success followed”; “No fisherman would go to sea before blood was shed”; and “It was customary for mourners to fight at a funeral until blood was drawn”42. Brutus’s claim to be a “purger” specifically aligns the conspiracy with winter customs such as bleeding of horses and cattle; or holming, when boys or servants “beat each other with holly branches until they drew blood, believing every drop assured a clear year ahead”43. So, when Calphurnia dreams her husband’s statue is pierced “like a fountain with an hundred spouts [that] run pure blood; and many lusty Romans / Came smiling and did bathe their hands in it” (II.2.76-79), Decius reassures her by glossing the nightmare as “a vision fair and fortunate”. Cæsar takes this to be superstition, but when Decius then likens him to Rome’s mythical wolf, which gave life-blood to suckle Romulus and Remus, the nurturing image prefigures what will happen as a fact:

Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,
In which so many smiling Romans bathed.
Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck
Reviving blood, and that great men shall press
For tinctures, stains, relics, and cognizances. (II.2.85-88)

  • 44 Gail R. Paster, “In the Spirit of men there is not blood’: Blood as Trope of Gender in Julius Caes (...)
  • 45 Robert Miola, “Julius Caesar and the Tyrannicide Debate, Renaissance Quaterly, 38 (1985), pp. 271 (...)

13Feminist critics connect this fountain figure with medieval iconography of the wounded Christ, and conclude that it effeminises Cæsar as a lactating mother44; while Marxists point out that the holy relics collected by the mourners foretell the souvenirs that would be preserved by his worshippers from the body of the “martyred” Charles I. What interests Shakespeare, it seems, is precisely that the bleeding body is a text subject to opposing interpretations; and it is this hermeneutic problem which stands at the crux of the play, when the actuality of bloodshed finally engulfs the metaphors men use, and history takes them at their words. Three limes Cæsar’s murder has been anticipated — in his epileptic mime, Brutus’s ghoulish consecration, and Calphurnia’s dream — before the rehearsals in the theatre are realised and the assassins lunge their daggers in his flesh. Commentators have long recognised that the tyrannicide debate that shapes Julius Caesar was sharpened by Pope Pius V’s excommunication and formal deposition of Elizabeth, which mandated religious assassination as a sacrifice to God. But, as Robert Miola adds, what the play dramatises is “the difference between history and theory”45, for now the sacramental language of the republican theorists is actualised, as the conspirators smear themselves in blood that spurts from every wound and makes this assassination physically a blood-bath. Nothing in Plutarch or any other source prepares for this gruesome rite of violence; and eighty years later, Dryden commented that Shakespeare only staged such bloody spectacles because of the depraved taste of London audiences, who were incapable of appreciating the decorous French neo-classical practice of narrating deaths that occur off-stage. Certainly, eighteenth century editors were so repelled by the assassination that they excised the most barbaric stage directions, and the act of literally washing in Cæsar’s blood was cut from all productions after the Civil War, until the actor Beerbohm Tree restored Brutus’s instructions as late as 1898:

Stoop, Romans, stoop,
And let us bathe our hands in Cæsar’s blood
Up to the elbows, and besmear our swords:
Then walk we forth, even to the marketplace,
And waving our red weapons o’er our heads,
Let’s all cry, “Peace, Freedom, and Liberty!” (III.1.105-110)

  • 46 L. Kirshbaum, “Shakespeare’s Stage Blood and its Critical Significance”, Procedings of the Modern (...)
  • 47 Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I, 1603-10, Vol. 1, p. 53.
  • 48 Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Carnival at Romans: A People’s Uprising al Romans, 1579-80, trans. M. Fee (...)
  • 49 Natalie Zemon Davis, Society and Culture in Early Modern France, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987, p. (...)

14Henry Irving thought that when Tree acted this scene for the first time in over two centuries, there was “too much blood!” but the producer defended his staging by citing the “hunting custom, now obsolete”, represented in As You Like It46. We know Shakespeare’s contemporaries took the therapeutic value of this hunting ritual seriously, since James I swore “the only means to maintain his health” and prevent gout, was for him to be lowered into “every buck’s or stag’s belly in the place where he kills them, which is counted an excellent remedy to strengthen and restore the sinews”47. But do the murderers, as Decius foresaw and the eucharistic symbolism requires, actually realise the cannibalistic imagery of the carnival tradition and drink the victim’s blood to take back his power into themselves? Commenting on the threats of the rioters to eat the flesh of the rich in 1580, Le Roy Ladurie maintains that “Romans’s citizens would surely not have eaten the liver of some patrician they had just slaughtered. Likewise, the blood drinkers of the French Revolution were with few exceptions only metaphorical”48. In her study of the climate of violence in sixteenth-century France, Natalie Zemon Davis affirms, none the less, that “Parts of corpses were sold at Avignon in 1561 (‘Five pence for a Huguenot’ s liver!’); at Vire in 1562 (‘who wants to buy tripe of Huguenots?’); and at Lyon in 1572 (where an apothecary was rendered fat from Protestant corpses and sold it at three blancs the pound)”, while in 1561 “There were reports of cannibalism in the wake of crowd murder at Carcassonne, Troyes, and Sens”49. Even Le Roy Ladurie concedes that Protestants cooked and ate relics of Saints during the French wars of religion; and in Shakespeare it is just such exceptions, when sacred metaphor becomes profane reality, which prove the revolutionary rule. Moreover, when Ben Jonson wrote Catiline, his version of a “Romish plot”, he had the conspirators literally drink a bowl of blood on stage to seal their oaths, when their leader sacramentally announced:

I have kill’d a slave,
And of his blood caus’d to be mixed this wine.
Fill every man his cup. There cannot be
A fitter drink to make this contract in.
Here, I begin the sacrament to all.
Be firm my hand, not shed a drop, but pour
Fierceness into me with it, and fell thirst
Of more and more, till Rome be bloodless…
Or may my blood be drawn and so drunk up
As is this slave’s. (Catiline, I.483-498)

  • 50 Francis Barker, The Culture of Violence: Essays on tragedy and history, Manchester: Manchester Uni (...)
  • 51 Girard, op. cit. (note 33), p. 223.
  • 52 Jones, op. cit. (note 41), p. 215.

15 Catiline was written In the aftermath of the Catholic Gunpowder Plot of 1605, and Jonson was here sensationalising both European religious violence and the supposed bloodthirsty ruthlessness of Guy Fawkes. In his book The Culture of Violence, Francis Barker contends that Shakespearean dramaturgy similarly works to occlude “the quiet, steady slaughter” on which the English state was founded, by making such acts as cannibalism into “a spectacle of the exotic… in another time, another place, among other people”50. But whether or not he intended to alienate us from Brutus in this way, the “savage spectacle” (III. 1.223) of the assassins with calf’s blood painted over bodies, is, in fact, the climactic tableau that affiliates Bankside playhouse with Eastcheap slaughterhouse. For here, in a tank of crimson gore, is the ultimate receptacle for that butchers’ waste which the City worthies were so determined to prevent being “sold for any purpose”— including, presumably, the stage. Shakespeare’s company have truly consecrated the house with a sacrifice, “As our Roman actors do” (II. 1.226), we see, for players and butchers are united in this illicit trail of blood, and the scarlet letters with which the actors daub themselves are concrete signs of mutual association in “the bleeding business” of death (168). As Girard writes, Julius Caesar is “the first and only tragedy that focuses on the foundational murder and nothing else”, but in this unsourced episode il is as if “the violent essence of the theatre itself is revealed”51. Such, at least, is the message Antony brings to the scene, when he emerges to rub the murderers in the reality of their rhetoric by shaking each one by the hand, so that the crimson dye seals a fraternal knot. The London Butchers’ Fellowship observed just such sanguinary ceremonies at its feasts; and Antony’s covenant with his “master spirits” seems, in fact, an imitation of its “corporal oath”, sworn by apprentices while their “purple hands [did] reek and smoke” (III. 1.158-163) so as to bind them to their masters on pain of corporal punishment52:

Let each man render me his bloody hand.
First, Marcus Brutus will I shake with you;
Next, Caius Cassius, do 1 take your hand;
Now, Decius Brutus, yours, now yours Metellus;
Yours, Cinna; and my valiant Casca, yours;
Though last, not least in love, yours, good Trebonius. (184-189)

  • 53 Davis, op. cit. (note 49), p. 179; Robert Chartier, Cultural History: Between Practices and Repres (...)

16Blooded, Antony knows the law of the hunt is kill or be killed; so, as he shakes “the bloody fingers”, he offers his own throat to be cut in a rite of homage, as Cæsar had: “Who else must be let blood, who else is rank”, he vows, must be put to death like cattle now: “If I my self, there is no hour so fit… nor no instrument / Of half that worth as those your swords, made rich / With the most noble blood of all the world” (152-156). Brutus had refused oaths; but this oath-taking is the pivot of the action, and as the apprentice turns to the lacerated carcass, he names the killers for the first time by the trade of which they are the masters: “O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth”, he intones, “That I am meek and gentle with these butchers” (254). From now on, the hunters will be hunted, and Antony can bay for blood in the archaic cry of the deerhunt: “Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war, / That this foul deed shall smell above the earth / With carrion men” (274-275). Human bodies had indeed been thrown to dogs, Davis reminds us, in the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre; and Robert Chartier describes the image of “the hunter roasted… backed to pieces, grilled, or turned on a spit by the animals who would be his victims”, as among “the most obsessive motifs” of artisanal carnival53. But contemplating the mangled corpses at the end of Hamlet, Fortinbras will puzzle at the carnage left by such hounds: “This quarry cries on havoc. O proud death, / What feast is toward?” (V.2.358). In this tragedy, which is so full of omens, prophecies, and dreams, the carnage of Roman history poses a similar conundrum. Antony interprets Cæsar’s rotting cadaver as a text to incite the mob; but how did audiences construe the shambles when Shakespeare’s Romans turn their swords, as Brutus puts it, “In [their] own proper entrails” (V.3.97)? Did James I, who saw the play in 1613, dismiss its author as yet another “dreamer”, as Cæsar rejects the soothsayer? If he did so, he was even more of a fool than he was reckoned, because Julius Caesar became the most quoted play of the English Revolution.

  • 54 Ibid., p. 115.
  • 55 Montaigne, “On tbe Cannibals”, op. cit. (note 17), pp. 235-236.
  • 56 Mark Rose, “Conjuring Cæsar: Ceremony, History and Authority, 1599”, Linda Woodbridge & Edward Ber (...)
  • 57 Nathaniel Lee, Lucius Junius Brutus, ed. J. Loftus, London: Edward Arnold, 1967, Preface, 58-60, I (...)
  • 58 Robert Darnton, The Great Cal Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History, Harmondswort (...)

17It was a nightmare of Renaissance society, Chartier writes, that “The powerful were no longer men but meat”, as “The peuple mécanique ran through the streets butchering the rich and selling their flesh for roasts”54. In his essay “On the Cannibals”, Montaigne argued that such fantasies of “an ultimate revenge” had inspired atrocities that “we have not only read about, but seen in recent memory, not among enemies in antiquity, but among our fellow citizens and neighbours”55; and an essay by Mark Rose concludes that because it “centred upon a sacrificial death that initiated a new era”, Julius Caesar also marked “a crucial step toward the future public bleeding of King Charles”56. In 1681 the dramatist Nathaniel Lee would confirm how “Shakespeare’s Brutus beat himself into the heads of a blockish age”, by imagining a king “As if he were a dish the gods might feed on”; but Davis thinks the age had feasts violent enough not to need the example of pagan rituals57; and the author who later mocked Rome’s burnt offerings as “crooked smokes” (Cymbeline, V.5.478) was unlikely to have been so transparent. Like the sacrifice the augurers cut open to tell the future on the Ides of March, when “Plucking the entrails forth, / They could not find a heart within the beast” (II.2.39-40), his Roman carnival comprised instead a bloodstained riddle, of history without a hero. But, then, prophecy from bloody entrails is the oldest form of poetry and the earliest explication de texte. So, explicating the carcasses of animals butchered by the Paris apprentices in 1760, Robert Darnton surmised in The Great Cat Massacre how such a bloodletting might be read as a “dress rehearsal” for Revolution”58 From human, to animal, to mimetic sacrifice: the progress of carnival is of successive substitutions; but Shakespeare’s gory stage-blood is a material reminder that there is nothing inevitable about this displacement. For though, as Hamlet jokes, “It was a brute part to kill so capital a calf” as Cæsar on stage (III.2.104), it was a savage spectacle that English history would very soon see acted.

Notes

1 Wilbur, C. Abbott (ed.), Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, 3 vols., Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1939, Vol. 2, p. 92.

2 Ibid., Christopher Hill, God’s Englishman: Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972, pp. 110-111.

3 Christopher Hill, Society and Puritanism in Pre-Revolutionary England, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1986, p. 39.

4 Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975, p. 91.

5 Andrew Marvell, “An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland”, 23-24, 65-72, 101, The Complete Poems, ed. Elizabeth Story Donno, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972, pp. 55-58; Abbott, op. cit. (note 1), p. 92.

6 D. R. Woolf, The Idea of History in Early Stuart England, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990, pp. 6, 175.

7 Lois Potter, Secret Rites and Secret Writing: Royalist Literature, 1641-1660, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989, p. 91.

8 Ibid., p. 208.

9 Hill, op. cit., note 43, p. 279.

10 Ernest Sirluck, “Shakespeare and Jonson Among the Pamphleteers of the First Civil War: Some Unreported Seventeenth-Century Allusions”, Modern Philology, 53 (1955-6), pp. 88-99, esp. 90.

11 Potter, op. cit., (note 7), p. 191.

12 Mercurius Melancholicus: Or News from Westminster, 5 (September 25 - October 2 1647), Joad Raymond (ed.), Making the News: An Anthology of the Newsbooks of Revolutionary England, 1641-1660, Moreton-in-the-Marsh, Gloucestershire: Windrush Press, 1993, pp. 176-177.

13 Potter, op. cit. (note 7), pp. 121, 145; Marvell, op. cit. (note 5), “Horatian Ode”, pp. 25-26.

14 John Milton, Paradise Lost, II, 533-538, Poetical Works, ed. Douglas Bush, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966, pp. 243-244. The aurora borealis was presumably the portent seen in the sky by Londoners in 1629 on the eve of the Eleven Years’ Tyranny: George Sandys, Ovid, London: 1632, p. 527.

15 Blair Worden, “Classical Republicanism and the Puritan Revolution”, in Hugh Lloyd Jones (ed.), History and Imagination: Essays in Honour of Hugh Revor-Roper, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981, pp. 182-200, esp. p. 191. See also H.M. Margoliouth, The Poems and Letters of Andrew Marvell, 2 vols., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971, Vol. 1, p. 378; Marvell, op. cit. (note 5), “Horatian Ode”, p. 102.

16 Roma Gill (ed.), The Complete Works of Christopher Marlowe, 7 vols., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987, Vol. 1: Translations, pp. 108-109.

17 Michel de Montaigne, “On the affection of fathers for their children”, The Complete Essays, trans. M.A. Screech, Harmondsworth: Penguin 1991, p. 450.

18 Ben Jonson, Sejanus his Fall, ed. W.F. Bolton, London: Ernest Benn, 1966, III.l.451-452.

19 Hill, op. cit. (note 4), p. 92.

20 Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century England, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973, pp. 464-465.

21 Ibid., p. 466; Jerome Friedman, Miracles and the Pulp Press During the English Revolution: The Battle of the Frogs and Fairford’s Flies, London: University College Press, 1993, pp. 64-65. See also Nigel Smith, Perfection Proclaimed: Language and Literature in English Radical Religion, 1640-1660, Oxford: Charendon Press, 1989, pp. 30-32.

22 Marvell, “Horatian Ode”, op. cit. (note 5), pp. 49, 54-55.

23 Margery Garber, Shakespeare’s Ghost Writing: Literature as Uncanny Causality, London: Methuen, 1987; Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1934, p. 10.

24 Michael Dobson, The Making of the National Poet: Shakespeare, Adaptation and Authorship, 1660-1769, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992, p. 138.

25 Ibid., p. 140.

26 London Daily Post and General Advertiser, April 12 1739.

27 Sigmund Freud, “The Uncanny”, Studies in Parapsychology, ed. Philip Rieff, New York: Collier Books, 1963, p. 57.

28 Garber, op. cit. (note 23), pp. 61-62; Hill, op. cit. (note 4), p. 90.

29 Ibid, p. 91.

30 Ibid., pp. 277-278; David Underdown, P ride’s Purge, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971, p. 183.

31 Hill, op. cit. (note 4), p. 277.

32 John Aubrey, Brief Lives, ed. Oliver Lawson Dick, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1962, p. 437.

33 René Girard, “‘Let’ s carve him as a dish fit for the gods’: Sacrificial Cycles in, Julius Caesar, A Theatre of Envy: William Shakespeare, New York: Oxford University Press, 1991, p. 224.

34 For an account of this famous (though probably apocryphal) episode and the representational questions raised, see John Drakakis, “Fashion it thus: Julius Caesar and the Politics of Theatrical. Representation”, Shakespeare Survey, 41, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 65-66.

35 Potter, op. cit. (note7), p. 190.

36 Havelock Ellis & Arthur Symons (eds.), “Nero” and Other Plays, London: Vizetelly, 1888, p. 37: II.3.125-127.

37 Bruce R. Smith, Ancient Scripts and Modern Experience on the English Stage, 1500-1700, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988, pp. 21-22.

38 Nicolo Machiavelli, The Discourses of Nicolo Machiavelli, trans. L.J. Walker, ed. Bernard Crick, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970, p. 136.

39 Thomas Hobbes, Behemoth or The Long Parliament, ed. F. Tonnes, London: Frank Cass, 1969, p. 18.

40 John Milton, “Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio”, The Works of John Milton, ed. F. Patterson, 18 vols., New York: Columbia University Press, 1931-1938, Vol. 7, pp. 336-337.

41 P.E. Jones, The Butchers of London, London: Secker & Warburg, 1976, p. 83.

42 Maurice Charney, The Roman Plays: The Function of Imagery in the Drama, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1963; Iona Opie and Matthew Tatem, A Dictionary of Superstitions, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 32.

43 Christina Hole, A Dictionary of British Folk Customs, London: Hutchinson, 1976, p. 88.

44 Gail R. Paster, “In the Spirit of men there is not blood’: Blood as Trope of Gender in Julius Caesar, Shakespeare Quarterly, 40: 1-4 (1989), pp. 284-298.

45 Robert Miola, “Julius Caesar and the Tyrannicide Debate, Renaissance Quaterly, 38 (1985), pp. 271-289, esp. pp. 285-287.

46 L. Kirshbaum, “Shakespeare’s Stage Blood and its Critical Significance”, Procedings of the Modern Language Association of America (PMLA), 64: 3 (1949), pp. 517-529.

47 Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I, 1603-10, Vol. 1, p. 53.

48 Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Carnival at Romans: A People’s Uprising al Romans, 1579-80, trans. M. Feeney, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1981, p. 198.

49 Natalie Zemon Davis, Society and Culture in Early Modern France, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987, p. 324.

50 Francis Barker, The Culture of Violence: Essays on tragedy and history, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993, p. 181.

51 Girard, op. cit. (note 33), p. 223.

52 Jones, op. cit. (note 41), p. 215.

53 Davis, op. cit. (note 49), p. 179; Robert Chartier, Cultural History: Between Practices and Representations, trans. L. Cochrane, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1988, p. 122.

54 Ibid., p. 115.

55 Montaigne, “On tbe Cannibals”, op. cit. (note 17), pp. 235-236.

56 Mark Rose, “Conjuring Cæsar: Ceremony, History and Authority, 1599”, Linda Woodbridge & Edward Berry (eds.), True Rites and Maimed Rites : Ritual and Anti-Ritual in Shakespeare and His Age, Urbana, [1], University of Illinois Press, 1992, pp. 256-269, esp. pp. 265-267.

57 Nathaniel Lee, Lucius Junius Brutus, ed. J. Loftus, London: Edward Arnold, 1967, Preface, 58-60, IV. 36-39, pp. 5 & 6; Davis, op. cit. (note 49), p. 186.

58 Robert Darnton, The Great Cal Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985, pp. 97-98.

Auteur

Université de Lancaster, Grande-Bretagne

© Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 1997

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