Lend Me Your Ears podcast, Episode 1: Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Why Julius Caesar Is the Perfect Play to Read When You’re Worried About the Collapse of the Republic

Why Julius Caesar Is the Perfect Play to Read When You’re Worried About the Collapse of the Republic

A Podcast About Shakespeare and Politics.
May 8 2018 12:14 PM

Lend Me Your Ears: Julius Caesar

Why was Shakespeare so fascinated by the fall of the Roman Republic?

lendmeyourears
Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker. Photo by Alfred von Domaszewski/Wikimedia Commons.

Lend Me Your Ears is a podcast miniseries exploring how Shakespeare’s works have shaped our modern views on politics. Each month, host Isaac Butler will dig into a different Shakespeare play to explore how Shakespeare was responding to his current events, and how they map onto our own.

In this first episode, Lend Me Your Ears is looking at one of Shakespeare’s most accessible works: Julius Caesar. Why was the Bard so fascinated with the fall of the Roman Republic? Why do we tend to turn to this play when we worry about society’s future? How have contemporary theater makers reinvented Shakespeare’s version of the story for their audiences, especially in troubled political times?

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Isaac talks to theater critic Helen Shaw and English professor Andrew Hadfield about what was going on in Shakespeare’s time that led him to look back to ancient Rome. We also talk to theater directors Rob Melrose and Tyler Dobrowsky about the choices they made in their recent staged renditions of Caesar.

Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Lend Me Your Years every month. This episode, Isaac is joined by Vanity Fair film critic K. Austin Collins and The Handmaid’s Tale screenwriter Dorothy Fortenberry in a roundtable discussion about rereading Caesar in a modern context and the play’s themes on elitism, democracy, and political performance.

If you are logged into your Slate Plus account, you can find this week’s bonus episode in the player below this paragraph or in your members-only podcast feed. Not yet a member? Click here to join.

Podcast produced by Chau Tu.