Monday, 30 July 2007


This is one of the best-known plays by Africa's major dramatist, Wole Soyinka. It is set in the Yoruba vilage of Ilunjinle. The main characters are Sidi (the jewel), 'a true village belle' and Baroka (the Lion), the crafty and powerful Bale of the village, Lakunle, the young teacher, influenced by western ways, and Sadiku, the eldest of Baroka's wives. How the Lion hunts the Jewel is the theme of this ribald comedy.

Shakespeare's JULIUS CAESAR

Various publishers offer the text of this play but I feel the best one is the one published by Cambridge University Press (CUP) as it is meant for students and includes 'a running synopsis of the action and an explanation of unfamiliar words.

In addition to the above CUP also has the Cambridge Student Guide on Julius Caesar.

You can listen to audio excerpts from the play at

...excerpts from William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" starring Sir Ralph Richardson and Anthony Quayle and directed by Howard Sackler.

Part 1
.au format (4.7 Mb), .gsm format (1 Mb), .ra format (0.6 Mb). Caesar has been warned by a soothsayer to beware the ides of March (March 15). In this scene, Caesar's wife begs him not to go to the Capitol because she has had ominous dreams and fears for his life. Brutus, Caesar's friend and a conspirator against him, appears and convinces Caesar to go to the Capitol in spite of the portents.

Part 2
.au format (5 Mb), .gsm format (0.6 Mb), .ra format (0.6 Mb). Caesar, a great general, is petitioned by several citizens to show clemency to one of his enemies. He declines, pompously speaking of himself in the third person. The group of conspirators then proceeds to stab him. With his dying breath he gasps, "Et tu, Brute? ("And you, Brutus?") Thus falls Caesar." The conspirators exult, and Shakespeare inserts a self-referential joke as Cassius says, "How many ages hence shall this our lofty scene be acted over in states unborn and accents yet unknown!"

Part 3
.au format (2.6 Mb), .gsm format (0.6 Mb), .ra format (0.3 Mb). Brutus presents a rational argument in favor of Caesar's assassination at the beginning of the funeral. His logical but prosaic way of speaking convinces the attending Romans to accept his political reasons for the crime -- but only temporarily.

Part 4
.au format (5.3 Mb), .gsm format (1 Mb), .ra format (0.6 Mb). We hear the end of the funeral scene. After Brutus finishes his eulogy, Marc Antony gets up to speak. In contrast with Brutus's rational argument, Marc Antony appeals solely to emotion, rousing the crowd to pity Caesar and manipulating them by sheer force of feelings. Again, Shakespeare inserts an ironic touch; Marc Antony disingenuously claims "I am no orator, as Brutus is," even though he has just defeated Brutus in a battle of words.

All these are available at the link above.