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Illeism and Julius Caesar. Conrad Brunstrom writes about Talking about Oneself in the Third Person

March 15, 2016

What with it being Ides of March today, thought I’d repost this…



Re-reading Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Conrad is confirmed in his long-standing opinion that the reason why the dictator was stabbed (a lot) was because he kept referring to himself in the third person.  Shakespeare makes Caesar say things like this…


The gods do this in shame of cowardice:

Caesar should be a beast without a heart,

If he should stay at home to-day for fear.

No, Caesar shall not: danger knows full well

That Caesar is more dangerous than he:

We are two lions litter’d in one day,

And I the elder and more terrible:

And Caesar shall go forth.

One of the assassin’s, Decius Brutus, has been despatched to Caesar’s house to make sure that Caesar really does show up to the senate.  At least Decius Brutus’ resolve must have been strengthened by having to hear speeches like this.  Stab him.  Stab him now.

But “Illeism” – the tendency…

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