Southwestern Historical Quarterly
"Presently," he said, in recounting what took place on the stage
following the rise of the curtain, "all eyes were drawn to the noble
bearing, thoughtful demeanor and melancholy face of one who,
somewhat apart from the rest, moved among the throng."
He of course referred to Booth's Brutus. There followed an
analysis of the tragedian's conception of the part. The reader was
told that he appealed to the intellect rather than to the emotions.
"Where others heave the chest and wring their hands, Mr. Booth
displays the civil warfare raging within his bosom by mere gesture
and facial expression." A good example of the revelation of
thought by facial play was observed in the forum scene. Here
Brutus's abhorrence of the bloody deed which he and his fellow
conspirators had committed was easy to detect. And as Portia
(Minna K. Gale) pleaded with her husband to tell her his trouble-
some secrets, the softer nature of the noblest Roman was admir-
ably brought out by the player's management of the words:
O ye gods!
Render me worthy of this noble wife.
It was in the camp scene, however, where Brutus indulges in
the memory of Portia, that Booth was considered the most
effective. With consummate mastery he there changed his air
from that of deep sadness to one of calm retrospection. Finally,
the reviewer, as if in despair of finding more qualities to praise
in his subject's faultless assumption, ended his lengthy critique
with a declaration that the role of Brutus by no means afforded
Booth the full exercise of his wondrous powers.
Of Barrett, not a great deal was written. The critic merely
observed that he showed a ripeness of intonation and a fullness
and flexibility of voice he had never before commanded on a
At night, Barrett was seen as Othello and Booth as Iago. The
Ancient was the part, next to Hamlet, commonly accounted the
tragedian's greatest assumption. Barrett's Moor was dismissed by
the Post critic, with the mere declaration that he was the free,
open-hearted soldier, frank, confiding, and brave. But of his co-
star the journal gave a more extensive appraisal.
After seeing Booth as Brutus it seemed difficult to reconcile one's
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed January 25, 2015.