chapter  14
Julius Caesar, Allan Bloom, and The Value of Pedagogical Pluralism
ByDarryl J. Gless
Pages 19

Bloom's Caesar exhibits the ease with which unexamined assumptions can enable interpreters to render Shakespeare an agent of their own ideological commitments. The essence of Strauss's Caesar had been briefly stated by Bloom's fellow Straussian, Harry Jaffa, whose creative and febrile readings discover in Abraham Lincoln the 'master villain of American history'. Powerful interpretations of Julius Caesar have likewise focused on the skepticism toward language and rhetoric which the play shares with or draws from influential contemporaries, Montaigne and Bacon among them. The adulation of great men and their 'Roman' brand of 'machismo' dominates Bloom's perceptions of major figures in Julius Caesar. An interpretation which recognizes, for example, that 'Caesar is virtually constituted of the guesses made about him' can persuasively account for an impressive selection of the play's features. The self-validating character of 'Brutus' depends so far on his capacity to preserve 'formal constancy' that he becomes unrecognizable when inward passion reshapes him outwardly.