|THE AGES AND THE MEN
||CATO THE YOUNGER
Our representative writer is Plutarch
for a man who was better than the times in which he lived.
destined for great things.
A learned man and a lover of his country.
purity of motive
in the assassination of Caesar.
A cautionary tale of a life gone bad.
|The Christian Middle Ages
Our representative writer is Dante
|As Cato was the defender of the
Roman Republic, likewise, Cato, in Dante's Comedia, is portrayed as the
guardian of the seaward approach to the island of Purgatory.
Held up as laudable example of
swift action, and his faults are downplayed.
A virtuous pagan and a guide to Christians.
||Dante places Brutus in Judecca, in the Ninth, or lowest,
Circle of Hell, as a
betrayer of his benefactor.
||Dante doesn't mention Antony,
but he does treat the story of Antony and Cleopatra as that of a
sinner made less sinful by
the love that motived the sin.
Our representative writer is Shakespeare
|Cato is already dead when the action begins
in the play Julius Caesar, but his
noble spirit lives in Porcia.
He towers above his contemporaries
and even in death is a major force.
||Shakespeare, who otherwise gives us stellar
examples of oratory, such as Marc Antony's funeral oration, gives but
few and unimportant lines to Cicero,
the greatest orator of ancient Rome.
The noblest Roman of them all.
||In Julius Caesar we see
Antony as loyal to Caesar whose murder he avenges. In Anthony and Cleopatra Shakespeare makes
Anthony the romantic leading man of the love story.