David Bromwich’s article review
Table of Contents
The article examines and deducts from Hazlitt paper. The author examines two of the great Shakespeare’s work by introducing Julius Caesar and Macbeth. The main argument is the evaluation of all the relationship between love, political evils and power. He draws conclusion that one power enhances the appetite for more and further, when two people act as one, they are able to do things that a single person cannot do. He verifies that the love of power by itself is a passion but it is different from the human love of friends or relatives because it has no tendency to teach or perpetuate the institutions of morals. Human love on the other hand has been considered humbling and self-extinguishing such that the responsibility is to care for others
The conflicting characteristics of Hamlet and Brutus offer the positive aspect of the article. The author looks at the brutality and actions of Brutus against the human love of Hamlet. Brutus is introduces in Julius Caesar as planning murder. The conspiracies in the two readings offer the basis for the argument.
While the writer has a great point of view, he offers a lot of contradiction why trying to bring out his proof. He argues that Caesar on one hand is a passionate leader driven by love for his nation and the ever-growing ambition to make change. On the other hand, he introduces his tormenting passion. He says that nobody has been able to argue himself into a dangerous action in such a logical manner but says that Caesar is not a menace but his interest in power creates a probability of acting in self-ambitions should he acquire that power and authority. Brutus also shares that attributes of love and ambition. The conspiracies that he creates only come from the petitions introduced later in the book but are clear from the beginning that he is self-ambitions and his interests come first. All the deceptions introduced in Shakespeare’s work are aimed at demonstrating the evils in the society. Though successful conclusions are seen in the end, it is clear that that love is a defining factor, whether is the love of self or the selfless deeds towards ending political evils. Consequently, the author explores the different themes that are illustrated in the play to reveal the association that is present between the different characters in the play.
David Bromwich weighs passion of life against emotion of art. He introduces the remarks of Dr. Johnson who also evaluated Shakespeare and said that if we take murder and treason to be real then they would not please us. In so doing, he was trying to pursue his main point that there is a close connection between love and evil. Every evil action especially political is driven by love. The conviction in those who act evil tells them that their path is righteous and justified same as those who act with compassion.
There is, however, contradiction in the point of view offered because Shakespeare intended to show the brutality in the men like Brutus and the evil that lay within Julius Caesar. Trying to justify their actions depletes the ideologies of the author and thus the writer should have created a create distinction between the two. This would have clarified the association that was present between the different characters in the play, thus clarifying the author’s point of view.
The author uses culture as the main tool in his work. The idea is to reveal moral concepts that are held by the people and how they are upheld or corrupted by forces of man. When two come together and share love, they offer love to the community yet when two are convicted by evil, self-ambition and corruption, the fruits of their work only harm the moral setting of the society and its culture. Consequently, it is evident that the author employs culture to examine the moral trend among the individuals and characters in the play. Moreover, the author cites the principle of poetry noting that poetry presents an anti-leveling approach. Therefore, the goals and impacts of poetry are observed to exist through contrast devoid of any medium. For instance, the author notes that there can be an aspect associated with the physical appearance and the breadth that is demonstrated by the crowd that leads to the emergence of aristocratic sensibility. However, the reaction that is demonstrated by Julius Caesar is a reaction that illustrate an increase in temper and apathy.
- David Bromwich. Hazlitt on Shakespeare and the Motives of Power. Hazlitt Society Annual Lecture, (2007). 5-15
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