Friday, December 12, 2008

Three More Speeches from Julius Caesar in The Cosby Show

“Shakespeare.” By Matt Robinson. Perf. Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Roscoe Lee Brown, Christopher Plummer, and Carl Anthony Payne, II. Dir. Jay Sandrich. The Cosby Show. Season 4, episode 5. NBC. 22 October 1987. DVD. Urban Works, 2007.

On a more serious note, The Cosby Show brought us three speeches from Julius Caesar, one of which is delivered by Rosco Lee Brown, who played Polonius in the Campbell Scott Hamlet. Another is delivered by Christopher Plummer—the Christopher Plummer.

As the family members gather after dinner, each of them conveniently facing the audience, we get these three speeches (well, two speeches, really, divided among three main speakers):
  1. Cassius' "Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world / Like a Colossus" (I.ii.135-50).

  2. Cassius' speech continued:  "Age, thou art sham'd / Rome, thou has lost the breed of noble bloods" (I.ii.150-61).

  3. Caesar's "Let me have men about me who are fat" (I.ii.192-212)
Is this an education in cultural literacy?  Is it the indoctrination of our youth in the language of Shakespeare?  Or is it merely a convenient and typical sit-com device?

Links: The Show at IMDB.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If it's a typical sit-com device, I've been watching the wrong channels! It's great to have this glimpse into the abilities of these classy actors. Maybe that was the point: to display the theatrical world beyond the TV sit-com. Enjoyed it!

Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

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