Monday, August 17, 2009

Julius Caesar - Brutus as Malcontent?


You've pointed out how Jacques, Don John, and Hamlet, with his arms "encumbered," represent versions of the "Malcontent" character. In reading Julius Caesar, I came across the following passage:

Y'have ungently, Brutus,
Stole from my bed. And yesternight at supper
You suddenly arose and walked about,
Musing and sighing, with your arms across,
And when I asked you what the matter was,
You stared upon me with ungentle looks.
I urged you further; then you scratched your head
And too impatiently stamped with you foot.
Yet I insisted; yet you answered not,
But with an angry wafture of your hand
Gave sign for me to leave you. (2.1.257-267)

My italics ("with yours arms across"). My question: Does Brutus fit into your thesis on the development of the stage malcontent? If so, how does this stock character evolve our understanding of him? And how does he relate to others like Hamlet (tragedy) and Jacques (comedy)? If not, what accounts for this odd behavior that Portia describes, since it seems so out of character with the rest of the passages by which we come to know Brutus?


(Quote from Folger edition)

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