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Julius Caesar

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The Graphic Novel

Written by William ShakespeareAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by William Shakespeare
Adapted by Dan WhiteheadAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Dan Whitehead
Illustrated by Naresh KumarAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Naresh Kumar

eBook

List Price: $4.99

eBook

On Sale: September 16, 2009
Pages: 288 | ISBN: 978-0-307-42149-4
Published by : Bantam Classics Bantam Dell
Julius Caesar Cover

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drama (433) shakespeare (428) play (249) fiction (218) plays (215)
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Rome, 44BC, the great general Julius Caesar arrives home from war as the sole ruler of Rome. The citizens cheer the conquering hero, but not all are pleased to see him return. Many fear that with nobody to oppose him, this military genius will become a cruel dictator. A conspiracy takes shape that ensnares the proud Brutus, one of Caesar's most trusted allies, in an assassination plot that will change the course of history.

What is most important, Shakespeare asks, loyalty to your leaders or to your country? Can good ever come of evil actions, and are those who speak of freedom always trustworthy?

Now imagined as a thrilling graphic adventure, William Shakespeare's classic retelling of actual historical events is revealed as a timeless political thriller - a bloody saga of friendships betrayed, alliances destroyed, and a nation torn apart by civil war.

Excerpt

Act 1 Scene 1 running scene 1

Enter Flavius, Murellus and certain Commoners over the stage

FLAVIUS Hence! Home, you idle creatures, get you home:

Is this a holiday? What, know you not,

Being mechanical, you ought not walk

Upon a labouring day, without the sign

Of your profession?- Speak, what trade art thou?

CARPENTER Why, sir, a carpenter.

MURELLUS Where is thy leather apron, and thy rule?

What dost thou with thy best apparel on?-

You, sir, what trade are you?

COBBLER Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but as you would say, a cobbler.

MURELLUS But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.

COBBLER A trade, sir, that I hope, I may use with a safe conscience, which is indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.

FLAVIUS What trade, thou knave? Thou naughty knave, what trade?

COBBLER Nay I beseech you, sir, be not out with me: yet if you be out, sir, I can mend you.

MURELLUS What mean'st thou by that? Mend me, thou saucy fellow?

COBBLER Why sir, cobble you.

FLAVIUS Thou art a cobbler, art thou?

COBBLER Truly sir, all that I live by is with the awl. I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters; but withal I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes: when they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat's leather have gone upon my handiwork.

FLAVIUS But wherefore art not in thy shop today?

Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?

COBBLER Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more work. But indeed, sir, we make holiday to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph.

MURELLUS Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?

What tributaries follow him to Rome

To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?

You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things:

O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,

Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft

Have you climbed up to walls and battlements,

To towers and windows? Yea, to chimney-tops,

Your infants in your arms, and there have sat

The livelong day, with patient expectation,

To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome:

And when you saw his chariot but appear,

Have you not made an universal shout,

That Tiber trembled underneath her banks

To hear the replication of your sounds

Made in her concave shores?

And do you now put on your best attire?

And do you now cull out a holiday?

And do you now strew flowers in his way

That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood?

Be gone!

Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,

Pray to the gods to intermit the plague

That needs must light on this ingratitude.

FLAVIUS Go, go, good countrymen, and for this fault

Assemble all the poor men of your sort;

Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears

Into the channel till the lowest stream

Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.-

Exeunt all the Commoners

See where their basest mettle be not moved:

They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.

Go you down that way towards the Capitol,

This way will I: disrobe the images

If you do find them decked with ceremonies.

MURELLUS May we do so?

You know it is the feast of Lupercal.

FLAVIUS It is no matter. Let no images

Be hung with Caesar's trophies. I'll about

And drive away the vulgar from the streets;

So do you too, where you perceive them thick.

These growing feathers plucked from Caesar's wing

Will make him fly an ordinary pitch,

Who else would soar above the view of men,

And keep us all in servile fearfulness. Exeunt

[Act 1 Scene 2] running scene 1 continues

Enter Caesar, Antony for the course, Calpurnia, Portia, Decius, Cicero, Brutus, Cassius, Casca, a Soothsayer, after them Murellus and Flavius

CAESAR Calpurnia.

CASCA Peace, ho! Caesar speaks.

CAESAR Calpurnia.

CALPURNIA Here, my lord.

CAESAR Stand you directly in Antonio's way

When he doth run his course. Antonio!

ANTONY Caesar, my lord.

CAESAR Forget not in your speed, Antonio,

To touch Calpurnia, for our elders say,

The barren touchèd in this holy chase

Shake off their sterile curse.

ANTONY I shall remember.

When Caesar says 'Do this' it is performed.

CAESAR Set on, and leave no ceremony out. Music

SOOTHSAYER Caesar!

CAESAR Ha? Who calls?

CASCA Bid every noise be still: peace yet again! Music stops

CAESAR Who is it in the press that calls on me?

I hear a tongue shriller than all the music,

Cry 'Caesar!' Speak, Caesar is turned to hear.

SOOTHSAYER Beware the Ides of March.

CAESAR What man is that?

BRUTUS A soothsayer bids you beware the Ides of March.

CAESAR Set him before me: let me see his face.

CASSIUS Fellow, come from the throng: look upon Caesar. Soothsayer comes forward

CAESAR What say'st thou to me now? Speak once again.

SOOTHSAYER Beware the Ides of March.

CAESAR He is a dreamer. Let us leave him: pass.

Sennet. Exeunt. Brutus and Cassius remain

CASSIUS Will you go see the order of the course?

BRUTUS Not I.

CASSIUS I pray you do.

BRUTUS I am not gamesome: I do lack some part

Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.

Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires;

I'll leave you.

CASSIUS Brutus, I do observe you now of late:

I have not from your eyes that gentleness

And show of love as I was wont to have:

You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand

Over your friend, that loves you.

BRUTUS Cassius,

Be not deceived: if I have veiled my look,

I turn the trouble of my countenance

Merely upon myself. Vexed I am

Of late with passions of some difference,

Conceptions only proper to myself

Which give some soil, perhaps, to my behaviours.

But let not therefore my good friends be grieved -

Among which number, Cassius, be you one -

Nor construe any further my neglect

Than that poor Brutus, with himself at war,

Forgets the shows of love to other men.

CASSIUS Then, Brutus, I have much mistook your passion,

By means whereof this breast of mine hath buried

Thoughts of great value, worthy cogitations.

Tell me, good Brutus, can you see your face?

BRUTUS No, Cassius, for the eye sees not itself

But by reflection, by some other things.

CASSIUS 'Tis just,

And it is very much lamented, Brutus,

That you have no such mirrors as will turn

Your hidden worthiness into your eye,

That you might see your shadow: I have heard,

Where many of the best respect in Rome -

Except immortal Caesar - speaking of Brutus,

And groaning underneath this age's yoke,

Have wished that noble Brutus had his eyes.

BRUTUS Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius,

That you would have me seek into myself

For that which is not in me?

CASSIUS Therefore, good Brutus, be prepared to hear:

And since you know you cannot see yourself

So well as by reflection, I your glass

Will modestly discover to yourself

That of yourself which you yet know not of.

And be not jealous on me, gentle Brutus:

Were I a common laughter, or did use

To stale with ordinary oaths my love

To every new protester, if you know

That I do fawn on men, and hug them hard,

And after scandal them, or if you know

That I profess myself in banqueting

To all the rout, then hold me dangerous.

Flourish, and shout

BRUTUS What means this shouting? I do fear the people

Choose Caesar for their king.

CASSIUS Ay, do you fear it?

Then must I think you would not have it so.

BRUTUS I would not, Cassius, yet I love him well.

But wherefore do you hold me here so long?

What is it that you would impart to me?

If it be aught toward the general good,

Set honour in one eye, and death i'th'other,

And I will look on both indifferently.

For let the gods so speed me, as I love

The name of honour more than I fear death.

CASSIUS I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,

As well as I do know your outward favour.

Well, honour is the subject of my story:

I cannot tell what you and other men

Think of this life, but for my single self,

I had as lief not be as live to be

In awe of such a thing as I myself.

I was born free as Caesar, so were you:

We both have fed as well, and we can both

Endure the winter's cold as well as he,

For once, upon a raw and gusty day,

The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,

Caesar said to me, 'Dar'st thou, Cassius, now

Leap in with me into this angry flood

And swim to yonder point?' Upon the word,

Accoutrèd as I was, I plungèd in

And bade him follow: so indeed he did.

The torrent roared, and we did buffet it

With lusty sinews, throwing it aside,

And stemming it with hearts of controversy.

But ere we could arrive the point proposed,

Caesar cried, 'Help me, Cassius, or I sink!'

I - as Aeneas, our great ancestor,

Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder

The old Anchises bear - so from the waves of Tiber

Did I the tired Caesar: and this man

Is now become a god, and Cassius is

A wretched creature, and must bend his body

If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.

He had a fever when he was in Spain,

And when the fit was on him I did mark

How he did shake: 'tis true, this god did shake,

His coward lips did from their colour fly,

And that same eye, whose bend doth awe the world,

Did lose his lustre: I did hear him groan:

Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans

Mark him, and write his speeches in their books,

'Alas', it cried, 'Give me some drink, Titinius',

As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me

A man of such a feeble temper should

So get the start of the majestic world

And bear the palm alone.

Shout. Flourish

BRUTUS Another general shout?

I do believe that these applauses are

For some new honours that are heaped on Caesar.

CASSIUS Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world

Like a Colossus, and we petty men

Walk under his huge legs and peep about

To find ourselves dishonourable graves.

Men at some time are masters of their fates.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars

But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Brutus and Caesar: what should be in that 'Caesar'?

Why should that name be sounded more than yours?

Write them together, yours is as fair a name:

Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well:

Weigh them, it is as heavy: conjure with 'em,

Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar.

Now in the names of all the gods at once,

Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed

That he is grown so great? - Age, thou art shamed! -

Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods! -

When went there by an age, since the great flood,

But it was famed with more than with one man?

When could they say, till now, that talked of Rome,

That her wide walks encompassed but one man?

Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough

When there is in it but one only man.

O, you and I have heard our fathers say

There was a Brutus once that would have brooked

Th'eternal devil to keep his state in Rome

As easily as a king.

BRUTUS That you do love me, I am nothing jealous:

What you would work me to, I have some aim:

How I have thought of this and of these times

I shall recount hereafter. For this present,

I would not - so with love I might entreat you -

Be any further moved. What you have said

I will consider, what you have to say

I will with patience hear, and find a time

Both meet to hear and answer such high things.

Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this:

Brutus had rather be a villager

Than to repute himself a son of Rome

Under these hard conditions as this time

Is like to lay upon us.

CASSIUS I am glad that my weak words

Have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus.

Enter Caesar and his train

BRUTUS The games are done, and Caesar is returning.

CASSIUS As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve,

And he will, after his sour fashion, tell you

What hath proceeded worthy note today.

BRUTUS I will do so: but look you, Cassius,

The angry spot doth glow on Caesar's brow,

And all the rest look like a chidden train:

Calpurnia's cheek is pale, and Cicero

Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes

As we have seen him in the Capitol

Being crossed in conference by some senators.

CASSIUS Casca will tell us what the matter is.

CAESAR Antonio.

ANTONY Caesar?

CAESAR Let me have men about me that are fat,

Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep a-nights.

Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look:

He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.

ANTONY Fear him not, Caesar, he's not dangerous.

He is a noble Roman, and well given.

CAESAR Would he were fatter! But I fear him not:

Yet if my name were liable to fear,

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. He loves no plays,

As thou dost, Antony: he hears no music:

Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort

As if he mocked himself, and scorned his spirit

That could be moved to smile at anything.

Such men as he be never at heart's ease

Whiles they behold a greater than themselves,

And therefore are they very dangerous.

I rather tell thee what is to be feared

Than what I fear, for always I am Caesar.

Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,

And tell me truly what thou think'st of him.

Sennet. Exeunt Caesar and his train

CASCA You pulled me by the cloak: would you speak

with me?

BRUTUS Ay, Casca, tell us what hath chanced today

that Caesar looks so sad.

CASCA Why, you were with him, were you not?

BRUTUS I should not then ask Casca what had chanced.

CASCA Why, there was a crown offered him; and being offered him, he put it by with the back of his hand, thus, and then the people fell a-shouting.

BRUTUS What was the second noise for?

CASCA Why, for that too.

CASSIUS They shouted thrice: what was the last cry for?

CASCA Why, for that too.

BRUTUS Was the crown offered him thrice?

CASCA Ay, marry, was't, and he put it by thrice, every time gentler than other; and at every putting-by, mine honest neighbours shouted.

CASSIUS Who offered him the crown?

CASCA Why, Antony.

BRUTUS Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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