Trump as Caesar

June 7, 2017

Today I saw an article about a production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar where the actor playing Caesar dresses and acts like Trump, and apparently some think they’re suggesting that assassination is an appropriate way to deal with Trump’s presidency. I wonder if they know much of the history, or if they’ve even read the play.

By the time Caesar came along, the Roman Republic was already dead in all but name. After Marius and Sulla, the questions was not so much “Republic or Empire” as “who’s going to be the Emperor?” I hope the U. S. isn’t that far gone yet, but Trump is more a symptom than the actual problem.

As for the play, it’s more about Junius Brutus than about Caesar. (Caesar’s death takes place fairly early in the play.) Things don’t work out so well for Brutus; the play ends with him killing himself in the face of Octavian’s victory.

Political violence doesn’t work; fantasizing about it doesn’t help anything.