Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rome: Passover

Previously on Rome, Season 1: Death. Sadness. A total lack of Shakespearian dialogue.
As this episode opens, Mark Antony emerges from the Senate, fresh from Caesar's murder, looking shell-shocked. We know what a substantial proportion of the audience is expecting;
a Shakespearian speech. No sign of that yet, though, as he's too busy fighting off assassins sent by Cassius. This is actually much more historically accurate than Shakespeare - in fact, the whole episode is much closer to some kind of amalgamation of the various accounts than most depictions of this particular event.

This, I suspect, is because the long, drawn-out process that was Caesar's funeral and Antony's popular victory over Brutus is much better suited to a slowly building television episode than to a film or even a novel. (There is one major inaccuracy, which is Octavian's presence - he wasn't even in Italy at the time. But they make it work, story-wise, so I quite like it).

Brutus is having a Lady Macbeth moment, madly washing his face and shaking like a leaf. Everyone's feeling Shakespearian today. Servilia tells him he must be strong but the poor guy looks in need of a valium.

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