Cato: A Tragedy
Cato, a Tragedy is a play written by Joseph Addison in 1712 and first performed on 14 April 1713. Based on the events of the last days of (better known as Cato the Younger) (95–46 BC), a Stoic whose deeds, rhetoric and resistance to the tyranny of Julius Caesar made him an icon of republicanism, virtue, and liberty. Addison’s play deals with many themes such as individual liberty versus government tyranny, republicanism versus monarchism, logic versus emotion, and Cato’s personal struggle to hold to his beliefs in the face of death. The play has a prologue written by Alexander Pope and an epilogue by Samuel Garth. The play was a success throughout England and its possessions in the New World as well as Ireland and especially in the American colonies, for several generations. Indeed, it was almost certainly a literary inspiration for the American colonies, being well known to many of the Founding Fathers. In fact, George Washington allegedly had it performed for the Continental Army while it was encamped at Valley Forge, but the source is a letter of questionable authenticity. Presented in a printed laid paper cover and appropriately side stitched .