Julius Caesar – William Shakespeare

Review in Bahasa Indonesia and English

Julius CaesarJudul buku : Julius Caesar
Penulis : William Shakespeare (1599)
Penerbit : World Library, Inc, Project Gutenberg, November 1997 [Etext #1120]
Tebal buku : 183 halaman

This day I breathed first: time is come round,     
And where I did begin, there shall I end;     
My life is run his compass.

(Cassius, Act V Scene III)

Warga Roma sedang mengalami hiruk-pikuk menjelang penobatan raja yang baru. Dukungan rakyat tertuju pada Julius Caesar, terutama setelah insiden penolakan mahkota yang ditawarkan oleh Mark Antony, sehingga seolah-olah Caesar tidak menginginkan jabatan itu. Sedikit kesan tentang karakter Julius Caesar saya singgung di sini. Di sisi lain, ada pihak yang tidak suka dengan Caesar. Cassius, yang merasa bahwa Caesar tidak layak menjadi raja, mempengaruhi Brutus—salah seorang orang terdekat Caesar—untuk mencegah penobatan Caesar pada pertengahan Maret (ides of March). Dengan menyanjung-nyanjung Brutus, Cassius menyatakan bahwa Brutus dapat menjadi raja yang lebih baik dibandingkan Caesar.

Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may the better judge.
(Brutus, Act III Scene II)

Rencana konspirasi pun disusun, sementara tanda-tanda bahaya sudah tampak di sekitar Caesar, yang sayangnya diabaikan olehnya. Pada hari tersebut, para konspirator membunuh Caesar, yang diakhiri dengan tikaman dari Brutus. Konspirasi selanjutnya adalah bagaimana memenangkan dukungan rakyat Roma. Mark Antony yang merasa sedih dengan terbunuhnya Caesar meminta untuk diberi kesempatan berpidato di pemakaman Caesar. Brutus—dengan dukungan dari Cassius—mengemukakan pidatonya tentang alasannya membunuh Caesar.

Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead to live all freemen?

Brutus menyatakan bahwa sifat ambisius Caesar akan menyengsarakan rakyat di kemudian hari. Pidato dari Antony pun tak kalah dalam mencari simpati rakyat. Dengan mengingatkan rakyat akan kesan baik Caesar, dan menyinggung insiden penolakan mahkota. Kalimatnya yang halus, tetapi justru berkesan, terutama karena diucapkan setelah Brutus.

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

Tak ayal setelah itu perang pun terjadi, antara kubu Antony dan kubu Brutus. Peperangan yang tidak hanya dipenuhi oleh pembunuhan, tetapi juga diwarnai oleh pengkhianatan, dan—lebih tragis—bunuh diri. Sebagaimana genre drama ini, tragedi, pengkhianatan dan perebutan kekuasaan adalah hal yang biasa dalam politik. Tak ada akhir yang bahagia untuk pertarungan semacam ini.

This is a sleepy tune. O murtherous slumber,
Layest thou thy leaden mace upon my boy     
That plays thee music? Gentle knave, good night.     
I will not do thee so much wrong to wake thee.
(Brutus, Act IV Scene III)

As I mentioned here about the character of Julius Caesar, not all people gave support to Caesar to be crowned. One of them was Cassius. He approached Brutus—one of Caesar’s dearest friend—flattered him as a better leader than Caesar. Brutus ended up affected by Cassius’ words and worked on conspiracy to murder Caesar. After the murder, there were two sides, Brutus and Mark Antony—who was dearest friend of Caesar too. That two sides tried to won Romans’ hearts and votes. And, inevitably, war happened, which was filled with murders, betrayals, and—more tragic—suicides.

Politics, conspiracy, a sudden seizure of power, never gave a happy ending. This is only one tragedy of human being that portrayed by Shakespeare through this historical event.

If we do meet again, why, we shall smile;     
If not, why then this parting was well made.

(Brutus, Act V Scene I)

4/5 stars.

Review #1 of Let’s Read Plays

5 responses to “Julius Caesar – William Shakespeare

  1. Julius Caesar was perhaps the shortest tragedy (I haven’t read other than this and Antony & Cleopatra though), but kept imagining ‘what if’ long after I read it. What if Caesar had not been killed, would Rome be better or worse? What if Brutus did not join Cassius? And dozens of ‘what ifs’. I think that’s why history is so interesting…🙂

    • But if Caesar hadn’t been killed, there’ll be what if Caesar hadn’t been a king🙂
      There’re so many things to learn from history. And yes, a well-written history is very interesting.

  2. Pingback: First Year Update of The Classics Club Project | Bacaan B.Zee

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