Sunday, March 6, 2011

Parallels - Julius Caesar 3 of 3

Julius Caesar part 3 of 3

Some other parallels in this play

Decius [Brutus]: Shall no man else be touched but only Caesar?
Cassius:            Decius, well urged. I think it is no meet
                         Mark Antony, so well belov'd of Caesar,
                         Should outlive Caesar.
Julius Caesar 2.1.154-7

Compare to Bacon's Essay on Friendship:

"And it seemeth [Decius Brutus's] favour was so great...As if he had enchanted Caesar...The like or more [friendship] was between Septimius Severus and Plautianus...[Severus] did write also in a letter to the Senate, by these words: "I love the man so well, as I wish he may over-live me".

It seems (though scholars have missed this point) that Shake-Speare had Severus's letter in mind when he wrote the lines above, though he applies the dictum to Antony and Caesar and ironically treats Caesar's love as a reason why Antony should not outlive him.


Caesar is  told that the augurs warn that he should not go forth that day,
but he dismissed them with  contempt. Calphurnia pleads with him:

          "Alas, my lord,
     Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.
     Do not  go forth today".
Julius Caesar 2.2.37-50

Bacon, alluding to this matter in his Latin De Augmentis says: "This extemity of confidence is ever as unlucky as unhallowed". The word "confidence" (or its Latin equivalent), used by both Shake-Speare and Bacon in the context, does not derive from Shake-Speare's source, North's Plutarch.


Antony (of Caesar's death): "Here wast thou bay'd brave hart,
                             Here didst thou fall; and here thy hunters stand,
                             How like a deer, strucken by many princes,
                             Dost thou here lie"!
Julius Caesar 3.1.204-5 and 209-210

This "stag at bay" metaphor is not in Plutarch or North (who merely say that Caesar was hacked and mangled as a wild beast taken by hunters), nor in Suetonius or any other source. But it is in Bacon who, describing Caesar's murder in his speech on Fortitude in his Conference of Pleasure, p. 8, to present before the Queen in 1595, said:

"They came about him unarmed, and as a stag at bay".


Antony (of Caesar): "the noblest man / That ever lived"
  Julius Caesar 3.1.256-7

Bacon  (of Caesar): "the worthiest man that ever lived"
  Speech on Fortitude in Conference of Pleasure, p. 7

The Stratfordians seem unaware of all these Bacon/Shake-Speare parallels about Caesar. Shake-Speare could not have borrowed from Bacon, since none of the latter's works in question had been published when the play was written.  And Bacon could not have borrowed from the play which was not published till 1623, except possibly for the Natural History items (but Bacon would not take his theory of epilepsy from a playwright), or unless he had seen an early performance of the play and remembered even its minutiae of phraseology. Realistically, mutual borrowing is out of the question as an explanation of these parallels.

end of part 3


  1. I read this possible parallel in Endnotes to the fable of Luna and Endymion in wiki: (chapter VIII)


    Let me have men about me that are fat;
    Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o' nights:
    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
    He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.

    Bacon, explaining the above fable:

    This fable seems to describe the tempers and dispositions of princes, who, being thoughtful and suspicious, do not easily admit to their privacies such men as are prying, curious, and vigilant, or, as it were, SLEEPLESS; but rather such as are of an easy, obliging nature, and indulge them in their PLEASURES, without seeking anything farther; but seeming ignorant, insensible, or, as it were, lulled ASLEEP before them. Princes usually treat such persons familiarly; and, quitting their throne like Luna, think they may WITH SAFETY unbosom to them. This temper was very remarkable in Tiberius, a prince exceeding difficult to please, and who had no favourites but those that perfectly understood his way, and, at the same time, obstinately dissembled their knowledge, almost to a degree of stupidity.

  2. It looks like a decent parallel to me, both referring to a prince or the equivalent, and about favorites or hangers-on who are either sly and hungry for favor or power or that are dull leeches. Both using the word of 'sleep' or referring to danger the man could be to the prince. Shakespeare's is about Julius Caesar and Bacon mentions Tiberius whose full name of Tiberius Julius Caesar would make it easy for Bacon to think of what he's thought or written of both if we assume he also wrote the play. There's also been some speculation that Bacon was emulating the ancient wisdom tradition by inserting philosophical ideas into allegorical form as he found in Wisdom of the Ancients. Interestingly, in the play Two Gentlemen of Verona (2.5) we find Launce saying "Thou shalt never get such a secret from me but by a parable".
    Thanks for pointing this out!