On the occasion, my students will have outrageous interpretations for the language in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, such as in the repeated expression “peace ho!” or “stand ho!” and the late arrival of a soldier named Clitus.
All these manifestations make my students crack up predictably, year after year. But the section most perversely twisted is the following scene from Act V, which I record here for your amusement and under this new context.
Hint: Brutus is asking these soldiers to kill him, but that’s not revealed until the end of the dialogue:
BRUTUS: Sit thee down, Clitus. Slaying is the word [in my students’ lexicon, slaying has a sexual connotation]. It is a deed in fashion. Hark thee, Clitus.
(BRUTUS whispers to CLITUS)
CLITUS: What, I, my lord? No, not for all the world!
BRUTUS: Peace then. No words.
CLITUS: I’d rather kill myself.
BRUTUS: Hark thee, Dardanius.
(BRUTUS whispers to Dardanius)
DARDANIUS: Shall I do such a deed?
CLITUS: O Dardanius!
DARDANIUS: O Clitus!
CLITUS: What ill request did Brutus make to thee?
DARDANIUS: To kill him
[my students: “Ohhhhh…”].