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In Anthony's speech there is a line that goes like this:

"When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept."

Why the present perfect?

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    Why do you think it should be the simple past? See this webpage: use 1: present perfect used for an unspecified time before now; and use 5: multiple actions at different times in the past. I would guess that it's use 5—Caesar has wept several times when the poor have cried. Oct 17, 2015 at 10:48
  • Hmm. According to this logic, the following sentence, written today, would be correct: "When his actors have asked him to write a new play, Shakespeare has always obliged." What am I missing?
    – Ricky
    Oct 17, 2015 at 10:48
  • Because "He wept each time the poor shed bitter tears" appears to be less poetic yet more, uh, natural-sounding. I don't know.
    – Ricky
    Oct 17, 2015 at 10:52
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    I wouldn't use the present perfect in the Shakespeare example today, but it would be perfectly fine if Shakespeare were still alive. At Shakespeare's funeral? It might be acceptable. Oct 17, 2015 at 10:54
  • ))) Ah! Thank you. Makes sense now. I guess the combination of "When" and "have" confused me.
    – Ricky
    Oct 17, 2015 at 10:58

1 Answer 1

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"When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept."

Why the present perfect?

Modernise it a bit: "Whenever the poor have cried, Caesar has wept."

And fill in the details: "Whenever the poor have cried in the past , Caesar has wept with them."

Seems pretty normal to me.

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