Beware The Ides of March

MargeWhy must we fear Marge Simpson’s eyes? The illiterate Shakespearean student may have misheard the reference as “Beware the eyes of Marge,” but to the rest of us, on March 15, we remember “Beware the Ides of March.” The ominous warning reminds of the assassination of Roman Emperor Julius Caesar in 44 BC.

The Roman calendar used “Ides” to mark the midpoint of the month and counted earlier days backwards from it. In Act 1, Scene 2 of William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, a seer, or soothsayer, speaks those famous words to the title character. Later in Act 3, Scene 1, while on his way to the senate, Caesar passes the seer and claims, “The Ides of March have come.” To which the soothsayer responds, “But not gone.” Thirty-three stab wounds later, Caesar is gone.

Many lines from Julius Caesar carry pop culture references: “The live long day,” “Eh tu, Brute?” “It was Greek to me,” “Last but not least,” “This was the most unkindest cut of all,” “Cry havoc and let slip the dog of war,” and “The fault is not in our stars but in ourselves.”

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