"Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once."
Act Three of #ShakespeareSeptemberChallenge, for which the prompt is 'death', admittedly takes a sinister turn. But death – in so many forms and guises – is a prevailing theme in so much of Shakespeare's work, and so I felt it had to be explored. It is, after all, a part of life.
I've chosen 'Julius Caesar', a play that is quite new to me having only read it and seen it this year. Death in JC plays such an interesting and important role, it pervades the entire story and all of the characters, from the very beginning up until the very end. The superstitious Romans placed so much importance on foreshadowing and foretelling, which abounds in the play and creates a dramatic build-up to the brutal assassination of Caesar. Caesar's murder occurs in the first half of the play, and yet his death and its symbology permeate the plot, action and dialogue of the whole rest of the play. The dramatic imagery of the death scene and the visceral allegory of blood throughout (which at once represents lifeblood, honour, brutality, hope and freedom) are particularly powerful in performance.
And I haven't even started on the moral and philosophical questions surrounding the treachery and murder...was Brutus right to kill the tyrant, his friend? Shakespeare – through Brutus, the moralising philosopher – challenges the audience to decide for themselves whether or not Caesar deserved to die. Et tu, Brute?
(Disclaimer: do not be alarmed by the picture, it is in fact cherry juice 😉🍒)