my most memorable book

My Most Memorable book… Sharing experiences 


     Julius Caesar by Shakespeare

Chris Doghudge worked for over two decades in the advertising industry and retired as Managing Director of LINTAS Advertising Agency. He immediately continued with ZUS Bureau, an advertising consulting firm which he had established shortly before his retirement.  Between October 2008 and July 2010, he served as Chairman of the Advertising Practitioners’ Council of Nigeria ( APCON). Still in active service of academic work, he lectures graduate students in Media and Communications Studies at the Pan African University, Lagos.  He shares his memorable experience of Shakespeare’s   Julius Caesar, a book he first read in 1958.

My most memorable book is Julius Caesar, by Shakespeare. It left an impression on me because it contains many lessons of life that teaches you how to live in life. But for me as a mass communicator, I have learned special lessons in speech making, special lesson in how to face a riotous crowd and how to make them to listen to you. Also, special lesson in how people should not always believe only what they see, but to believe their instincts, their intuitions and sometimes even what soothsayers say.

For the speech making lesson, two great speakers, Brutus and Mac- Anthony were wonderful, but Mac-Anthony was simply fantastic. He was allowed to speak by Brutus who had led the group that went to kill Caesar.  And he brought the corpse of Caesar, put it down and was addressing the Roman crowd, and the first half of the speech was to say he was there to mourn Caesar and not to praise him. However, towards the end he  praised Caesar and the crowd went ahead to try to kill all the conspirators.

How did he do it? The man says look, ‘I am not here to dispute what Brutus and Cassius  have told you  because they are honourable men, so are they all, all honourable men.’ Then later he says ‘I am here to speak what I know, Caesar loved you people not, but he had many plans for you which now he cannot execute because he is dead.’

Mac-Anthony continues that ‘ I have a testament, the will of Caesar, but I won’t read it because if I read it, it will inflame you, it will make you mad and I don’t want to do so, and I don’t want to offend these  honourable men.’  And the crowd rose up saying ‘ Read the will, read the will of Caesar.’ So he knew how to tease, like we prepare teaser campaigns in advertising so you will want more. He knew how to tease them. At the climax he then read the will, how much he was prepared to give to every Roman from the spoils of office because he conquered many people and brought so much money and things which he prepared to distribute but that would not happen again because he was dead. After he read the will the crowd rose up saying ‘ we will kill Brutus.’

Another lesson was that, just like with every mob, one of the conspirators had the same name as a poet and when they were running round looking for the people to kill, they came across this man called Cinna, and they said ‘ kill him, he is one of the conspirators’, but he cried out saying ‘ I am Cinna the poet, not Cinna the conspirator’,  and they said ‘ fine, kill him for his bad verses.’ That is the mob action. It can misfire because the mob is emotionally charged and they don’t care.

Back to talking superstition, although not many people want to believe in it, but Caesar’s wife told him not to go out on the day he was killed. She had seen an animal being killed in her dreams and insisted that Caesar should not go out on that day,  but Caesar brushed it aside saying, ‘ I am a Lion, myself and danger , we are both Lions littered in one day, and I being  the elder, am more terrible, so I shall go forth. He didn’t believe in dreams just as many people don’t.  He had also met a soothsayer some days back who said to him, ‘ beware of  the ides of March’, but  he replied  saying ‘ The ides of March has come ‘ and the man said ‘ but not gone’. Caesar went in to the Senate but never came out alive. It shows that people brush aside something that may be true. It is a lesson of life.

The speech side is one of the lessons I will not forget and if anybody is going to learn speech-making let him read Julius Caesar, especially the speeches of Mac-Anthony. Justifying what he did, he said not that he didn’t love Caesar, but that he loved Rome more.