Friday, October 28, 2011

El Guillermo Shakespeare

For my "local sharing" requirement, I talked about Julius Caesar with my sister-in-law, Nadia. She is from Lima, Peru, so every once in a while I practice my quickly fading Spanish with her. I thought for this assignment, I'd try something different by trying to discuss Shakespeare, the greatest writer in the English language, in Spanish.

Me, Nadia and my little brother Evan. (Nadia married my other brother, Trent.)

I wondered if students in Peru learned about Shakespeare, or if he was only considered essential to English-speaking schools. Nadia told me that Shakespeare was introduced as the vehicle for teaching plays as one form of language arts. They read Romeo and Juliet, and learned the facts of Shakespeare's life, like when he lived and died.

Then she came to BYU and majored in English. She wanted to avoid taking a Shakespeare class, but a professor convinced her to take it. And she said she really enjoyed it. She read Hamlet, The Tempest and Othello. And she said she really liked Othello.

So then I told Nadia the basic outline of Julius Caesar. Here's a translation of how I summed it up: "Caesar is gaining a lot of power. And one of his enemies, Cassius, wanted to kill him, and he convinced his friend Brutus to kill him. Brutus really thought he was doing the right thing, because by killing Caesar he was protecting Rome. But Cassius really just wanted power. Another friend of Caesar's, Mark Antony, fought on Caesar's side against Brutus and Cassius in a civil war. But Mark Antony just wanted power too. So Brutus was the only one not interested in power, and yet he was the one who killed Caesar."

It was while I gave her that simple plotline that I realized the irony of Brutus killing Caesar.

Something else I brought up with Nadia was that Julius Caesar is known for being a simple play, without anything about sex, which is why it's often read in high schools. And because it's so simple, it might be an easy one for her to try on her own. Not that she needs remedial English - she not only majored in English, she plans on being a novelist.

Maybe she'll be the next William Guillermo Guillermina Shakespeare, who knows?


  1. Actually, my mom's third name (yes, she has one) is Guillermina. How funny is that!

  2. That's really funny. I didn't even know Guillermina was a real name! I don't think I've ever heard it before.