Updated: Jun 15
If you asked 100 people to list some "must-read" classic pieces of literature people touch on during a well-rounded education, most likely, at least one piece of Shakespeare would make most lists.
Of course, being who I am, I'd argue that it should be more than one piece on that list.
But why? Why should Julius Caesar make the shortlist? Here are five reasons every student should take a look at this classic Shakespearean piece!
Five reasons your kid should study Julius Caesar
It makes a connection with History. While Shakespeare took some creative liberties, Julius Caesar was a real person killed by senators Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius (and quite a few others) on March 15th.
Some modern phrases that students might hear and use come from this play. Ever heard "beware the Ides of March" (many TV shows have episodes named this for a reason!), "It's Greek to me!," "a dish fit for the Gods," "sterner stuff," "let slip the dogs of war," "lean and hungry look"? Yeah, that's all from Julius Caeser.
It's a way to study human motives, power, and politics. Seriously--this play presents a fantastic opportunity to explore the dynamics of power, as students see two opposing sides push and pull for power. The characters allow us to peek into their mind to know the motivation behind their actions. And while the modern government most students are under doesn't directly follow the ancient Roman structure, there is a strong relationship between democratic republics and ancient Rome. Thus, current events can mirror the patterns of power and politics seen in the play if a student knows where to look.
It's too sophisticated for a simple "good guy vs. bad guy" viewpoint. Come on, life isn't that easy. You hardly come across someone who is 100% good or 100% bad. As adults, we know that "good people" can do "bad things." And well, "bad people" can do "good things". We internally fight with moral dilemmas that this can cause. Those young minds in our charge should learn this lesson too. The characters in Julius Caesar are mired with self-doubt, conflicting feelings and carry out morally questionable decisions they'd argue are right. However, as in life, it isn't that simple. The play opens up opportunities for students to think and reflect on complex issues of morality.
This play is from 1599. Today, it has well over a 4 star average on Amazon, and there have been four major film adaptations of the play. It is a popular source for actor's monologues. Why is it still so popular? Simple: It's a great story with a relevant storyline! Have you ever hear a great actor deliver these lines? Chills!
Can you think of other good reasons to introduce young people to this classic? Let us know!
If you're interested in having your student join a small pod of students reading, discussing, and studying this play, join us! Join one of our upcoming sessions by clicking here!