Celebration Quotation – March 22, 2016

Today’s quote is from Julius Caesar:

"How many ages hence shall this our lofty scene be acted o'er, in states unborn and accents yet unknown?" Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene 1

 

Shakespeare frequently referenced the stage, actors, and acting in his plays.  This line seems particularly ironic: here is Cassius, vainly imagining how often the assassination of Caesar will be acted out in years to come – and here is an actor speaking the line who is doing exactly that.  But Shakespeare probably never imagined how many times – and in how many languages – these words would end up being spoken.  400 years and counting – and how many more years and performances to come?

The image is a photo engraving of American actor Lawrence Barrett (1838-1891).  Barrett – who was born Lawrence Brannigan – was the son of Irish immigrants.  He found success on the stage both in America and in London, and became known for his work with Shakespeare. In America, he frequently played opposite Edwin Booth, playing Iago to Booth’s Othello and Cassius to Booth’s Brutus.  This photo – taken in the mid- to-late 19th century, may have been from one of those productions.

Image Source: Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image Collection