Ides of March


The assassination of Julius Caesar in HBO’s Rome — ugly, the way these things always are

Frye in one of the notebooks on Renaissance literature:

The liberal who sits & hopes that somebody will assassinate Hitler of McCarthy or Huey Long is Brutus without Brutus’ courage & responsibility. He thinks of such people as destroying human relations by engrossing power. That is, essential social relations to him are the personal ones: he has no tragic conception of society. Antony, with his ruthlessness, his use of others (Lepidus) as “property,” his contemptible rhetorical tricks & his exploiting of Caesar’s will is still able to consolidate a society. He never makes a human contact: his loyalty to Caesar is the exception that proves the rule. . . Caesar does make personal contacts, & makes himself impersonal by an effort of will: as is said, the way to flatter him is to tell him he can’t be flattered. (CW 20, 268-9)

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