- Robert Lynn Green
- I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Learning from Literature
My wife is also a high school language arts teacher. This semester she is teaching sophomore English. The literature text includes William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar. She described to me her discussion of Brutus' soliloquy in Act II sc i of the play where Brutus, speaking his thoughts aloud, says these lines:
It must be by his death: and, for my part,
I know no personal cause to spurn at him,
But for the general. He would be crown'd:
How that might change his nature, there's the question:
It is the bright day that brings forth the adder;
And that craves wary walking. . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
And therefore think him as a serpent's egg
Which hatch'd, would, as his kind grow mischievous;
And kill him in the shell.
In other words, Brutus says that he must kill Caesar, not for anything that Caesar has done, but for what Caesar may do.
"So it's like a preemptive strike?" one student asked.
"Exactly," my wife responded, "and what was the result of Caesar's assasination by Brutus' and the conspirators?"
"Civil war," another student said.
"So, Brutus kills Caesar in a preemptive strike not for what Caesar has done, but for what he could do. The result is chaos and civil war. What can we conclude from this?" my wife asked.
"George W. Bush didn't study Julius Caesar when he was in high school?"