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This week on The Learning Curve, guest cohosts Jay Greene and Mark Bauerlein interview renowned U.K. Oxford and ASU Shakespeare scholar Prof. Sir Jonathan Bate, discussing the timeless play Julius Caesar on the Ides of March. Sir Jonathan explains the Roman lessons for American constitutionalism, including warnings against the dangers of dictatorship and civil war. He explores the influence on Elizabethan England and Shakespeare of the classics, including the works of Cicero, Seneca, and Plutarch. Sir Jonathan explains the differing rhetorical styles Shakespeare uses in the funeral orations of Marcus Brutus and Mark Antony, as well as Brutus’ noble though ultimately failed effort to preserve the Roman Republic. Sir Jonathan concludes with a reading from his book How the Classics Made Shakespeare, focusing on Cicero’s idea of “the peculiarly heinous nature of civil war.”
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