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Ashley Burnett

ENG 334

Theater Exercise

The written word can be illustrated and performed. Words mean different things to

different people, it deals with the denotation. Interpretations of written words depend on the

writer, the illustrator, and the performer. The way the audience perceives the work relies on the

vehicle of the play. The same scene of Julius Caesar in the written work differs from the scene

illustrated in a Manga and in the stage performance of the scene.

In Act 1 scene 2 of Julius Caesar, Cassius gives a long speech to Brutus about Caesar.

Cassius tells stories of their youth together that many might not know, revealing he is just a man

like any other. The portrayal of Caesar in the stories is of a feeble and needy man. Caesar dares

Cassius to jump into the Tiber River. Cassius jumps in and Caesar follows. After a few minutes

of fighting the current, Caesar cries out. Help me, Cassius, or I sink! Cassius saves poor

Caesar. The brotherly love they once had for each other has died and been replaced by Cassius

resentment. And this man is now become a god, and Cassius is a wretched creature, and must

bend his body if Caesar carelessly but nod on him. Cassius saved Caesars life and now Caesar

does not even give Cassius a second look. Another memory Cassius shares, is of when Caesar

was ill in Spain. Alas, it cried, Give me some drink, Titinius, as a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth

amaze me a man of such feeble temper should so get the start of the majestic world. Cassius is

angry that such a man is offered the crown. The text is straight forward and is usually read with

little emotion.
To some readers this long rant from Cassius could seem as achievements or struggles

Caesar has overcome. In the American Shakespeare Company performance of Julius Caesar this

same speech is delivered with much more hatred. Cassius seems to taunt Brutus. We both have

fed as well, and we both can endure the winters cold as well as he. Brutus is just as worthy as

Caesar for the crown in Cassiuss eyes. The performance brings the words off the page with the

passion of an actor. Intonation can change the entire meaning of this speech. It can be delivered

with a loving nature, sarcasm, or anger.

The performance followed the text whereas the Manga is not a complete text. The

Manga gives a very dark portrayal of the entire play. Scenes are cut down to the most extreme

actions. Manga is a Japanese word that refers to comics and cartoons. It is filled with visual

imagery. Instead of describing the river Cassius and Caesar in words it is illustrated. The

troubled Tiber chafing with her shoresThe torrent roared and we did buffet it. The Manga

shows a young Caesar being sucked down into a violent vortex. The Shakespearean Manga does

not contain the entire speech of Cassius. It excludes the story of Caesars fever in Spain. A

shortened, action packed version of Julius Caesar. Mangas are great for younger readers,

particularly middle school level. It attracts them and initiates their imaginations.

The differences between the three texts deal with the senses. Sight and sound translate

meanings into the written word that a reader may not get with a flat read. Performances and

illustrated versions of plays draws the audience in more than plain text. The words in the text

represent the same scenes but are interpreted differently. This is definitely a privilege of a

playwright. The interpretations of the work can change over the years and yet tell the same story.
Works Cited

Julius Caesar. By The American Shakespeare Center. Dir. Benjamin Curns. MSU Lovett

Auditorium, Murray, KY. 9 March 2016. Performance.

Mustashrik. Manga Shakespeare Julius Caesar. New York: Amulet Books. 2008. Print.

Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Complete Works. Ed. Jonathan Bate. New York: Random

House, 2007. 1801-1858. Print.