“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.” Marc Antony said those words to start his eulogy to Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” and wreak revenge to the murderers. There is an echo of this in Ha-azinu, this week’s Torah portion.
Last week, Vayelech, God told Moses to write down the song, and this week we read the song. Moses warned the Israelites catastrophes that would befall them if they did not keep God’s commandments. In the end, God “will vindicate His people and take revenge for His servants. . . Vengeance will I wreak on My foes, Will I deal to those who reject Me. . . O nation, acclaim His people! For He’ll avenge the blood of His servants, Wreak vengeance on His foes, and cleanse the land of His people.”
I do not know that Shakespeare’s familiarity with the Bible extends to Ha-azinu. One interesting article that I turned up: “The Bard and The Word: the influence of the Bible on the writings of William Shakespeare,” by Emily Gray. In 2018 Emily Gray wrote Departmental Honors Thesis at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I did not read all of it (that’s an understatement), but I will report back to you.