7 THE SEAL OF THE SPIRIT ! Do not bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed unto the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30 AT Thornton Wilder, in The Ides of March , portrays Julius Caesar reflecting on those ancient religions that offer “a vague sense of confidence where no confidence is . . .,” that “flatter our passivity and console our inadequacy.” “What can I do,” cries Caesar, “against the apathy that is glad to wrap itself under the cloak of piety . . .?” for religious assurance: How may we claim 1 That is the central question with which to grapple in any search genuine security without becoming spiritually spineless? On the one hand, our time has well been named “The Age of Anxiety,” 2 the key word coming from the Latin term angustia meaning “shortness of breath.” 3 Many today are suffocating in the spiritually cramped quarters of a secularized world. In such a bottleneck our phobias multiply in bewilding profusion: one standard medical dictionary catalogues 217 of them. 4 Grim statistics of murder, alcoholism, and divorce reflect an unbearable discontent with life as it is now being lived. As a result, we feed off of our fingernails, a diet calculated to produce acute spiritual indigestion. On the other hand, religion has responded to the sinisterness of life by creating a cult of reassurance that coddles anxious Americans with promises of inner peace and boundless prosperity. We glibly claim to have 74 You are reading copyrighted material published by the University of Alabama Press. Any posting, copying, or distributing of this work beyond fair use as defined under U.S. Copyright law is illegal and injures the author and publisher. For permission to reuse this work, contact the University of Alabama Press..
Hull, William E.. Harbingers of Hope : Claiming God’s Promises in Today’s World, University of Alabama Press, 2007. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/brooklyn-ebooks/detail.action?docID=438184.
Created from brooklyn-ebooks on 2017-11-27 16:56:58.
The quote details an account of the Ides of March, via Thornton Wilder. He likens Caesar and his assassination to the common man and their struggle with the Christian faith. By doing this, he paints a decidedly very depressive picture of the assassination of Caesar. Rather than just acceptance of what happens, maybe even disbelief, Wilder creates the image of Caesar being in a state of hopelessness, a state of deep despair, through the comparison to one losing faith or being in a state of separation from God. I feel that this interpretation, is one that gives weight to the assassination of Caesar. For many of us, who are religious, especially those who are Christian, the struggle between hope and despair whilst serving God, is very real and through this metaphor, we can see, in some way, the torrent of conflicting emotions which must have been coursing through Caesar, as he was assassinated.
When re-reading the account of the Ides of March, from the perspective of Cassius Dio, I chose to quote the moment of Caesar’s assassination:
4 And when the right moment came, one of them approached him, as if to express his thanks for some favour or other, and pulled his toga from his shoulder, thus giving the signal that had been agreed upon by the conspirators. Thereupon they attacked him from many sides at once and wounded him to death, 5 so that by reason of their numbers Caesar was unable to say or do anything, but veiling his face, was slain with many wounds. This is the truest account, though some have added that to Brutus, when he struck him a powerful blow, he said: “Thou, too, my son?”
In tandem with the interpretation of Wilder, and his religious metaphor, the final words of Caesar, in the account of Cassius, have their true meaning revealed. By this, I mean to say that the emotions behind those words, “Thou, too, my son?” can be laid bare to their fullest extent. If the assassination of Caesar can be likened to a loss of faith, then the despair and hopeless of those words can be seen. Just as Adam chose to not have faith in God, back in the Garden of Eden and was subsequently cut off from God, so too, though to a far lesser extent, was Caesar, mentally and physically cut off from his people/consul, and left to similarly spiral off into a pit of despair, darkness and separation.
Skaie Cooper,Team Ares