Sunday, January 8, 2012

Caesar Diaries

I asked the current team to write diary entries assuming a particular character.

They were asked to write an entry dated March 15, 6:00am meaning hours before the assassination of Caesar. 

Here's the output.  I hope other teachers and students wherever they may be may learn from this activity.

This is a borrowed idea and I don't claim that I am the first to implement this in my classroom.

From RT as Caesar

             Calphurnia and her omens have been pestering me all morning. She claims that just because the night watch has seen omens in the sky, Caesar must remain at home. These omens are directed to me as much as they are directed towards anybody else in this world. Comets fall to announce the imminent death of a prince but that doesn’t mean everyone in the world should hide inside their houses out of fear. However, she is convinced that her horrible nightmares are a sign of my death. She claims that she saw a statue of Caesar with holes that poured out blood. As men came to drink from the fountain of blood, they had grins. Such a dream is ambiguous. What does she want me to do? Does she want Caesar to wait for her to have a good dream before leaving the house? Such an excuse not to leave the house would make me the laughing stock of the entire senate.
Calphurnia worries too much. I am Caesar and Caesar has nothing to fear. Even fear itself cowers before Caesar. All the things that threaten me only lurk behind me because they fear me. When they see Caesar’s face they vanish. Even if I must die, all men are destined to die. Death will come whenever it wants to but Caesar knows this is a test. The gods test my bravery to see if Caesar is worthy of the crown. If I remain in the house because of these fears, I will be nothing but a heartless animal. Caesar is not a heartless animal. I am the eldest and strongest of lions and I will prove to the gods that my bravery is absolute.
I will go to the senate today and show Rome that Caesar fears nothing. I will show Calphurnia that all her dreams are just figments of her imagination. I think I hear Decius at my door. Let me talk to him about the senate. I have a feeling that they will crown Caesar king of Rome and I will not let these inexistent threats prevent my rise.

From SA as Brutus

In light of upcoming events, I have opted not to disclose to my wife my plans for the defense of Rome from the powers brewing within her. However, I cannot bear to keep anything from her, especially not this, which has very well consumed me. So this entry is for you, Portia, may it not be my last.

I had a dream last night - or perhaps it was a nightmare. Caesar had returned to Rome with the blood of Pompey forming puddles in his footsteps. The beloved city rejoiced in his arrival, as if upon his shields he bore the head of Hannibal and not that of an honorable man. Hundreds of Romans spilled into the streets, dogging the man and his lackeys, that pleasure-seeking Antony, chanting his name.

To this, however, I bore no qualms – I too loved Caesar to some extent. But the man is ambitious. He is a lion lurking in plain sight. Are we to reward his lust for power and feed his insatiable appetite? Or are we to crush the serpent egg before it hatches? Many of the people of Rome want his head anointed and crowned, whereas I would sooner prefer it on a silver platter.

I’d hate to have to resort to such morbid means, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Rome’s sons and daughters need a savior – a man to liberate them from the terrors Caesar would bring down upon our city. Cassius and the rest agree with me that it is for the betterment of Rome that the lion is slain.

Portia, as you read this, I will already be in the Senate with my fellow vanguards of democracy, purging the land of the plague that is Caesar. Rome’s sons and daughters need a savior - a man to liberate them - and on my honor, I am to be that man.

From PC as Cassius

            Finally, the day has come! I’m going to get to kill Julius Caesar! I should be careful though…Brutus still shows a bit of hesitation. I’m not sure if he’s as 100% on this as the rest of us. I don’t understand! Those forged letters I sent him were flawless! I need Brutus to make this crime look just. We must look like heroes, not criminals.
            Okay…So Brutus wants to destroy Caesar but doesn’t want to kill him. He wants us to look like purgers rather than murderers. Aha! I sense a bit of pride in Brutus! I recall him saying he himself was honorable! Thanks to myself, he ignored the authenticity of those letters I sent. Now that he is in with us on this, I must control my excitement! I can’t let anyone else know about this great plan. They call me an oppurtunist…ha! I call them stupid! I am fed up with this stupid man’s “godliness” in the eyes of the Romans! Caesar has become too powerful. Soon enough he will be drowning in the lake of his own power. A Megalomaniac. I’m doing this for the sake of Rome. Down with Caesar! 

Once again, I thank the students for their contributions.