Beware the Ides of March

“Ides,” as we learned in school, comes from the Latin word "idus," used widely in the old Roman calendar to indicate the middle of the month.  

Over time, the phrase “Ides of March” evolved into “Beware the ides of March,” a warning of bad things to come because of William Shakespeare's play, “Julius Caesar.”

This phrase in March reminds me of Shakespeare, one of my favorite English writers in High School and College Literature classes. I must have read all his works then: 38 plays, 154 sonnets, narratives poems, epitaphs, and other works. 

Today, his plays are still constantly being performed, analyzed, and re-interpreted in different cultural and political contexts the world over. They have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

In this new, modern millennium, Shakespeare is also regarded by Literature enthusiasts as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's most outstanding dramatist. In fact, many think he was a genius.

Young people today probably won't agree, because Shakespeare's language is so different from the way they talk or write. Messages, articles, and award-winning literary works on the Internet or the printed page are, well, you know.

Even if Literature reflects the times, many of us in my generation still appreciate the depth and richness of the creativity of someone like Shakespeare. 

In the play “Julius Caesar,” Julius Caesar was warned by a soothsayer on his way to a senate meeting.

Humor me. I am quoting the dialogue in the play where the phrase is mentioned (Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2). 

Caesar:  Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Cry "Caesar!" Speak, Caesar is turn'd to hear.

Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.

Caesar: What man is that?

Brutus: A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times to death by a group of conspirators led by Brutus and Gaius Cassius on the ides of March.  

Since the old Roman calendar was based on the movements of the moon, on the ides of March the sea becomes turbulent and angry due to the high tides brought by the full moon. 

All these thoughts make the ides of March eerie and mysterious.

My belief: your day can only be as good as the grace you discover and acknowledge—with praises and gratitude.

Have a pleasant ides of March!

Photo credit: 1ms.net


I believe said...

Grabe March patapos na. Yes. Quite a challenge to seize each day. You'd think the devil seizes you by making you waste it.

Grace D. Chong said...

Thanks, "I Believe." Ides or no ides, I am singing, "This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it." Sing with me?

Yay Padua-Olmedo said...

Ides of March? For me it has been "The Relief of March," because I'm now able to breathe after all the assignment checking and correcting and referring, and warning and cautioning and reminding students. Or is that worse than the ides of March? Wow, I survived it!

Grace D. Chong said...

I should say "idle march." After sending my manuscripts to my editor mid-march, I am left twiddling my thumbs.