Andrew James Hartley
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‘So are they all, all honourable men’
Julius Caesar before the Second World War
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The evolution of Shakespeare play on stage is always in part the story of Shakespeare's standing in society at large, and the trajectory mapped by Julius Caesar is a familiar one. David Daniel calls the story of the prelude to and aftermath of Julius Caesar's death 'the most famous historical event in the West outside the Bible'. The play reappears on Drury Lane, performed by the King's Company with Charles Hart as Brutus and Michael Mohun as Cassius, both of whom had been actors before the Civil War and saw military service during it. Thomas Betterton continued to play Brutus until January 1707/8, treating the role as that of a dignified, patriotic and thoughtful hero, establishing a sense that he was the play's tragic hero. Thomas Hamblin was particularly renowned for his Brutus in the 1830s and 1840s, and Edward Loomis Davenport persisted in the role from 1853 to 1870.

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