Can I use the term "metatheater" in the William Shakespeare Experience? We readers should nod when Caesar condemns Cassius:
I do not know the man I should avoid
So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much,
He is a great observer, and he looks
Quite through the deeds of men. [But] He loves no plays,
As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music. (1.2.200-204)
And Brutus admonishes the conspirators with:
Let not our looks put on our purposes,
But bear it as our Roman actors do,
With untired spirits and formal constancy. (2.1.226-228)
Then, as Casca describes Caesar among the people as a performance – thrice refusing the crown, fainting, offering his throat for cutting, wringing "Alas, good soul" from several wenches – he concludes: "If the tag-rag people did not clasp him and hiss him, according as he pleased and displeased them, as they use to do the players in the theater, I am no true man" (1.2.258-261).
With these early references to theater, are you set up as a director to impose an overt theatrical style on the whole play or, for instance, Antony's funeral oration? Setting aside for a moment the fact that all performed plays are "theatrical," does Julius Caesar call especial attention to the theatricality of its characters' public relations?
(Quotes from Signet edition)
Antony, Lepidus and Octavius Walk Into A Bar
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