From Jail to Prison – An Essay on Caesar Must Die

Note: The following was an essay written for a college course that has since been placed here for archiving.

The adaption of Julius Caesar into Caesar Must Die brings with it a wide variety of artist choices, from the casting of real-life criminals for the majority of the roles to the use of black-and-white film in all scenes except for the scenes showing the play being acted out. Yet the most stand out moment, one that summarizes the movie’s own thesis on Shakespeare’s play and what it says about ignorance and retrospective, is the final line delivered by Cosimo Rega, who plays Cassius, “Since I got to know art, this cell has become a prison.” (Caesar Must Die)

This statement in many ways reflects an idea that develops in the later stages of the play. When the two are combined, I put it this way: Since I killed Caesar, I realized Rome had always been broken.

Cover of Caesar Must Die, courtesy of Rai Cinema, La Talee, and Stemal Entertainment

The final words of the film are a nail in the coffin for a comparison of prison and Rome that begins early in the film with the introduction of the cast, made entirely of real-life criminals. The man who plays Julius Caesar is in for seventeen years for drug trafficking. Brutus has 14 years for multiple associations with a major crime family. Cassius has a life sentence for murder, among other things.

As Cosimo realizes the nature of his imprisonment through art, so does his character and fellow conspirators realize the nature of their own nation as they combat tyranny. They were all prisoners in the political prison of Rome long before Caesar’s heirs chased them down. 

This ‘before and after’ can be shown in the way the conspirators decide to spare Antony, “Our course will seem too bloody… for Antony is but a limb of Caesar.” (II.i.162-165), compared to Cassius’s call to his hunters, “Come Antony and young Octavius… for Cassius is aweary of the world: hated by one he loves, braved by his brother, checked like a bondman” (IV.iii.92-96). The play’s conspirators go from feeling they can contain the rot in Rome to one man, to realizing they have been exiled by a Rome completely controlled by that rot.

This realization is mirrored again in a scene near the half way mark of the film, when the actor who plays Caesar calls out the man playing Lucius in the middle of his persuading of Caesar to go to the senate despite bad omens. The manipulative nature of the scene has revealed the man’s true nature to ‘Caesar’, who proceeds to get into a fight with him.The actors themselves realize the world around them scene by scene as they are immersed into the world of the play.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The choices directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani make in their closing scene reveal a lens one can use to view both Shakespeare’s work and the reality of Roman history. The Tavaini brothers seem to agree with the idea many modern historians champion; the Republic fell long before Caesar’s body went cold. As Cassius and Brutus realize their doom in the hands of an already damned Republic, Cosimo Rega realizes, through art, that his life has been truly wasted.

He chose to be part of this play to escape the realities of his life sentence, but in the end only learned to understand his permanent jailing in a more permanent way because of said play. The irony of this mixture of reflection and ignorance is one that exists in Julius Caesaritself, to the detriment of all involved.

Works Cited

Caesar Must Die. Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani. Distributor, 2012. https://                                     www.amazon.com/Caesar-Must-Die-Antonio-Frasca/dp/B00HAN05WS/                                   ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519501961&sr=8-1&keywords=caesar+must+die.

“Julius Caesar.” The Norton Shakespeare, by William Shakespeare et al., Third ed., W.W. Norton & Company, 2016, pp. 1685–1749.

Entrusted Cleats – An Object Analysis Essay

Note: The following was an essay written for a college course that has since been placed here for archiving. It was required to be written without “to be” verbs.

The approximately two-inch gash that calls the left edge of this right footed Adidas Men’s Traxion Soccer Cleat home provides a hint to the trauma said cleat prevented for its owner, me.

The right foot of a pair of Adidas Men’s Traxion cleats

The shoe features the classic Adidas three stripes and a black and white pallet, though the white portions have become discolored. This reveals the shoe’s age, a handy down from an older brother. Despite these signs of age, the mostly black shoe shines well in the sunlight.

The gash formed close to a year before the writing of this paper, in an intramural soccer match at James S. Malosky Stadium. Playing as a central defender, I made a hard challenge on an attacking player and managed to get to the ball first. He made an attempt on the ball too, but instead found my foot. I wouldn’t notice until ten minutes later that my big toe felt numb and that my shoe felt strangely large, as if a size too wide.

While the outside of the shoe portrays a slick and smooth feel, the gash exposes a rougher interior that hides between the cocoon of the foot and the shining exterior which strikes the ball.

Memories are often stored within scars, for cleats as much as people. This shoe shows its work through the tanning of its white stripes and the damage to its side, reminding its owner that it made a sacrifice to save their foot. Note that its owner suffered a sprained foot, though some of this is surely due to the owner’s late realization of the situation. The shoe retains a meaning through both its sacrifice and the wound of its owner.

Despite the wound, the shoes still represents meaning and ability. The cleats on the bottom still clack when they hit a hard floor and still dig into the grass when they run across a pitch. The laces still pull in tight when tied up. The back of the shoe still hugs tight on the heel. While the sides of the upper foot feel strangely loose, most of the shoe feels good as new, or at least good as reused.

My Adidas Men’s Traxion soccer right-footed cleat represents the ability to sacrifice for a good cause and that even when battered, an item is not useless. I can feel my toes unusually surrounded by space when the right-footed cleat is on my foot. It’s a reminder of the shoe’s damage. It’s also a reminder of the damage it saved me from.

Someday this shoe might see repair, but until then, its sacrifice shall always bring a smile and sense of appreciation. My foot got better, my cleats didn’t. The cleats, however, ended up meaning more to me.