Tragedy in the Earlier 18th Century
Cato (1712) by Joseph Addison (1672-1719) retells the last days of Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis (95–46 BC), whose deeds, rhetoric and resistance to the tyranny of Julius Caesar made him an icon of republicanism, virtue, and liberty. The play’s underlying message of individual liberty versus government tyranny, Republicanism versus Monarchism, logic versus emotion, held particular significance amongst 18th-century Whig audiences, seeking justification for England’s Glorious Revolution.
Addison (Joseph), Cato. In Denham (Sir John), Poems and Translations. 7th ed. 12mo. London, 1709.