Supernatural in Julius Caesar Essay

Supernatural in Julius Caesar Essay.

The play _Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare_ includes many references of superstitions and omens. These references played an important role in the development of the plot and characters. Shakespeare used elements such as weather, old beliefs, and people’s visions to portray messages to the audience. Through the use of superstitions and omens, Shakespeare foreshadowed Caesar’s death, exposed the changes in various characters, and allowed the characters’ true intensions to reveal themselves through the misinterpretations of omens.

The superstitions and premonitions added by Shakespeare were used to foreshadow the death of Caesar.

By doing this, Shakespeare to made it obvious to the audience that Caesar was going to die and there was nothing anybody could do about it. On the night before the Ides of March, there was a large thunderstorm that took place. The storm foreshadowed the assassination of Julius Caesar and it’s negative repercussions. Shakespeare’s audience treated the kings as the gods’ representative on Earth. So when Casca and Cicero met on a Roman street.

Casca points out:

“Either there is a civil strife in heaven,

Or else the world, too saucy with the gods,

Incenses them to send destruction.” (1.3.11-13)

Casca’s words leave an undertone that even the heavens are upset with the plans to murder Caesar. Because Caesar’s death would break one of the human laws, this disturbed a natural law, resulting in a thunderstorm. Casca continues to point out to Cicero things he saw that were clearly omens:

“Against the Capitol I met a lion,

Who glared at me and went surly by,

Without annoying me…

And yesterday the bird of night did sit

Even at noon-day upon the marketplace,

Hooting and shrieking.” (1.3.20-28)

Obviously these things don’t just naturally happen, so they were put there by Shakespeare to foreshadow Caesar’s assassination. Caesar’s servant and wife didn’t want him to leave on the day of his death. Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia, had a bad dream that his statue was spewing blood and many Romans were bathing their hands in it. Similarly, Caesar’s servant cautioned him from leaving his house:

“They would not have you stir forth today.

Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,

They could not find a heart within the beast.” (2.2.38-40)

These two phenomena occurred on the same day, right after the night of the storm and Casca’s strange visions, on the day of Caesar’s death. Shakespeare strategically placed them to foreshadow an upcoming tragedy.

The use of superstitions and the supernatural shows the development and changes within the important characters throughout the play. Julius Caesar starts off the play being very superstitious and he allows these beliefs to dictate the way he makes choices. He makes this evident in his conversation with Antonius:

“Forget not in your speed, Antonius,

To touch Calpurnia, for our elders say

The barren, touched in this holy chase,

Shake off their sterile curse.” (1.2.8-11)

Here, two friends speak to each other about a race that takes place on the Feast of the Lupercal. Caesar tells Antonius to touch Calpurnia because he believes it will make her able to bear children, giving attention to omens and superstitions. Unfortunately, Caesar eventually disregards omens and superstitions entirely leading to the day he dies. He believes he is stronger than the supernatural, as he says to his wife, Calpurnia:

No, Caesar shall not. Danger knows full well

That Caesar is more dangerous than he.

We are two lions littered in one day,

And I the elder and more terrible.

And Caesar shall go forth.” (2.2.44-48)

In this quote by Caesar, he is expressing his disregard for the bad omens that everyone is experiencing, which pertain to him. As well, Caesar’s words demonstrate his change in attitude. Earlier in the play, Caesar was less ambitious which caused him to pay more attention to what was occurring in his surroundings, such as superstitions. Shakespeare shows Cassius’ change in attitude in a conversation between him and Casca:

“For my part, I have walked about the streets,

Submitting me unto the perilous night,

And, thus unbracèd, Casca, as you see,

Have bared my bosom to the thunder-stone.

And when the cross blue lightning seemed to open

The breast of heaven, I did present myself

Even in the aim and very flash of it.” (1.3.47-53)

Cassius said this to Casca while the two conspirators were speaking about omens. The audience sees Cassius’ dangerous and narcissistic attitudes reveal themselves by the way he tested and belittled superstitions, something that the people of that time took so seriously. Cassius ‘ attitude towards omens and superstitions completely changes. Cassius believes and allows superstitions to affect the way he thinks. This is demonstrated when he speaks to Messala in the 5th Act:

“You know that I held Epicurus strong

And his opinion. Now I change my mind,

And partly credit things that do presage.” (5.1.76-78)

Cassius’ words express his new belief in the supernatural and omens. It is possible to draw this change in belief towards superstitions, to a change in his attitude and decisions. This new belief, made him more cautious and realistic when entering the battle at Philippi, as opposed to his previous irrational fearlessness seen during the storm. In both characters, Julius Caesar and Caius Cassius, the audience sees, through Shakespeare’s use of superstitions, a significant change in attitude.

In Julius Caesar, some of the most important superstitions and omens were miss-interpreted by the characters. This happened because either the receiver of the omen didn’t like the message, or they didn’t understand its purpose or it’s relevance. When this happened, it dramatically enhanced the plot, as well as showed the characters’ true intensions. This occurs on the night of the storm, when Cassius says:

“Now could I, Casca, name to thee a man

Most like this dreadful night” (1.3.73-74)

Instead of referring the storm to Caesar’s imminent death and its repercussions, Cassius relates the storm to Caesar’s powerful existence. If Cassius were able to decipher and accept the real message in the storm, he would have recognized his villainous plans. Perhaps, Caesar would not have been killed, and there would be no negative aftermath to his death. Cassius didn’t want the storm to represent Caesar’s death, nor did it even cross Cassius’ mind that the storm might have to do with his plans. Cassius truly wanted to kill Caesar out of jealousy and nothing was going to get in his way, not even the natural order of things. Misinterpreting omens also occurs on the day of Caesar’s death when Decius Brutus, comes to escort Caesar to the senate, he finds Caesar was unwilling to leave his house because Calpurnia had a bad dream. Decius Brutus, planning to kill Caesar, convinces him that the dream was miss-interpreted:

“This dream is all amiss interpreted.

It was a vision fair and fortunate”

Caesar believes his friend and goes to the senate house with Decius Brutus, which lead to his inevitable death. There were so many signs guiding Caesar not to go to work that day, some including: The soothsayer told Caesar to beware the Ides of March, and also the sacrificed animal without a heart. Caesar miss interpreted all of these things to be good signs or ignored them entirely, because he believed that he was going to be crowned king that day and his ambition got the better of him. Caesar didn’t want to believe the signs were describing bad things to come because he didn’t like the idea of that happening. These miss-interpretations eventually led to fatal errors and thus made the play Julius Caesar a tragedy.

In conclusion, Shakespeare’s use of superstitions was very important to the play, Julius Caesar, because of the role they had in the play. The weather was used for foreshadowing Caesar’s death and showing Cassius’ initial attitudes towards the supernatural. The people’s old beliefs were used by Shakespeare to show Caesar’s change in beliefs and increase in ambition because he purposely translated the sign incorrectly as well as foreshadow his death. People’s visions were put in the play by Shakespeare to foreshadow Caesar’s death and the negative events to come afterwards, because they were miss translated by Caesar, it advanced the plot and eventually got him killed. Not only was the incorporation of supernatural things in Julius Caesar intriguing to the audience, it also served a functional purpose towards the overall play as a whole.

Supernatural in Julius Caesar Essay

Julius Caesar ACT II Study Guide Questions Essay

Julius Caesar ACT II Study Guide Questions Essay.

1. Through the analogy of a ladder, how does Brutus explain what happens when someone gains power? 2. To what does Brutus compare Caesar? Why does Brutus feel that he must kill Caesar immediately?
3. What day is it? Why is this significant?
4. Brutus explains that he has not been able to sleep. How does he explain what happens to a man’s conscience between the “acting of a dreadful thing / And the first motion”?
5. How are Cassius and Brutus related?
6. Why does Brutus insist that the men do not need an oath?
7. Why do the men want Cicero on their side at first? Why do they change their minds?
8. Who does Cassius want to murder in addition to Caesar?
9. What is Brutus’s response to this idea?
10. How does Decius plan to get Caesar to come to the Capitol?
11. What has Portia noticed about Brutus’s recent behavior?
12. What reasons does Portia give to insist that Brutus reveal his feelings to her?
13. What does Portia do to prove her strength to Brutus? What is your reaction to this act? BONUS: An anachronism is when an author unknowingly or purposefully inserts something from a different period of time into his or her writing.

Shakespeare uses an anachronism in this scene. See if you can find it. Why do you think Shakespeare might have used this anachronism?

Scene Two
1. Why has Calpurnia been unable to sleep? About what omens does Calpurnia tell Caesar? 2. Why does Caesar insist on leaving the house?
3. On what evidence do the priests (“augerers”) recommend that Caesar not leave the house? 4. How does Decius convince Caesar to leave?
5. Caesar instructs his men to keep close to him. What is the irony?

Scene Three
1. Artemidorus reads from a letter at the beginning of this scene. Who wrote the letter and what does Artemidorus plan to do with it?

Julius Caesar ACT II Study Guide Questions Essay

Manipulation In Julius Caesar Essay

Manipulation In Julius Caesar Essay.

In the play “Julius Caesar”, Shakespeare displays his characters as being manipulative and persuasive. This is illustrated in various parts of the play, such as at the beginning when Brutus was manipulated by Cassius, and then again when Antony manipulated the Roman citizens.

Shakespeare first introduces the technique of manipulation and persuasion at the beginning of the play through the character of Cassius. Cassius had sinful plans in his mind and needed others to join this conspiracy against Julius Caesar.

Cassius knew that Brutus had a low self esteem and by boosting his confidence he knew that he could convince Brutus to side with him.

Cassius then brings the good of Rome to Brutus’ attention knowing that Brutus always wanted to do what was best for the people. This allows Cassius to manipulate Brutus into joining the conspiracy because he speaks very poorly of Caesar and tells him that it is for the good of the Roman citizens if Caesar was not the ruler.

This was affective because Cassius was well aware that having someone like Brutus, a friend that Caesar had great respect toward, would have many benefits in his conspiracy against Caesar. Cassius says “For who so firm that cannot be seduced? Caesar doth bear me hard; but he loves Brutus : If I were Brutus now and he were Cassius, he should not humor me.” Shakespeare shows that Cassius wanted to kill Caesar because of personal greed but purposely made Brutus think he was only doing this for the good of the people. If Cassius had not persuaded Brutus to join the conspiracy then Brutus would have never been in the situation of having to kill the noble Julius Caesar.

A form of persuasion that Shakespear uses in this play is with Portia, the wife of Brutus, and Calpurnia, the wife of Caesar. Both women in this play knew how to use their womanly features to their benefit. Portia used her love for her husband and her beauty, towards Brutus to get the information she wanted. She wanted to know what Brutus was doing because she worried. She made Brutus feel guilty by questioning his love for her, this caused him to agree that he would tell her what was he was about to do. Calpurnia also used her love and devotion for her husband to get what she wanted. She feared for Caesar’s life because of the disturbing dreams she had the night before. She persuaded him to stay home from the capitol that day because of these dreams.

Portia and Calpurnia could have changed the whole play if their ways of persuasion had only worked. If Caesar listened to Calpurnia’s superstitions then he would not have been killed in the capitol that day. If Brutus had told Portia what he was about to do then she may have some way talked him out of making this mistake. This helped create suspense.

The reason that the persuasion of Calpurnia did not work is because Decius showed up. Decius manipulated Caesar into going to the capitol and convinced Caesar that the dream that Calpurnia had was a good sign and not to take it as a warning.

After the death of Caesar Brutus tries to manipulate the crowd into believing his reason to why he killed Caesar. Brutus tells the crowd that he did not do it for personal greed but he committed this murder for the good of them. He says; “Not that I loved Caesar less, but I loved Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all freeman?” Brutus appealed to logic and reason, as he tried to get the citizens to understand why he killed Caesar. He wanted to make sure that the people knew he did this for them and it was for the better in the long run.

This was only affective until it was Antony’s turn to speak. he appealed to the emotions of the citizens instead of ‘tricking’ them into believing what he wanted. Antony implied that what the conspirators had done was wrong. He constantly called them honorable men and finally the crowd pick up on his use of sarcasm. He says to the people; “O masters, if I were disposed to stir Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage, I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong, who, you all know, are honorable men: I will not do them wrong; I rather choose to wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you, than I will wrong such honorable men.” Antony let the brighter side of Caesar shine through to the crowd, by visual effects. Antony took out the will and let the roman citizens know what their former ruler had left them.

The final way that Antony manipulated the roman citizens was by showing them Caesar’s robe, he showed the holes from the knives that the conspirators put through. This touched the hearts of the people and completely changed their views of who was right. Antony made sure that the people knew how much the stab from Brutus hurt Caesar not only physically but emotionally where Brutus was a friend to Caesar and it came as a surprise that he would turn his back on him. We knew this because Caesar says “Eu tu Brute, Then fall Caesar.” Antony’s speech was more effective than Brutus’ because he reached the hearts of the people and not just their minds. Shakespeare developed Antony as being a very wise character because Antony knew that the people would side with him in the end and he never had to do anything that Brutus said he couldn’t.

As proved in the previous paragraphs, Julius Caesar is a play full of manipulation and persuasion. Not all characters are motivated by personal greed however many were. If each example of manipulation or persuasion hadn’t occurred the outcome of this play would be changed. If Brutus had not been manipulated into joining the conspiracy against Caesar he would never thought of killing Caesar, if Caesar had listened to his wife’s suspicions then he wouldn’t have been killed in the capitol that day, and finally if Antony had not manipulated the Roman citizens into turning against Brutus then they would have remain satisfied with Caesar being dead. Everything in this play happened for a reason, some to create suspense, others to create foreshadowing, and Shakespeare develops both very well. The manipulation and persuasion of the characters is what makes the play interesting and fun to read.

Manipulation In Julius Caesar Essay

Literary Essay – Julius Caesar Essay

Literary Essay – Julius Caesar Essay.

As humans, none of us are entirely good or entirely evil. It is the same with the characters in the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. While many are portrayed as good or evil, none really are. This can be more easily explained through the characters Brutus, Marc Antony and Julius Caesar.

From the very first mention of Brutus the audience is told that he is the most honorable man in Rome. This would persuade us to believe that he is a good character.

From the beginning this is true, but not too far into the play, after some coaxing by Cassius, Brutus’ more evil side is revealed. He contributes to the plot of killing Caesar and says in Act II scene 1 line 10 “It must be by his death…” This alone is totally the opposite of what an honorable man would do. Nevertheless, he tries to redeem himself by adding in Act II scene 1 line 11-12 “I know no personal cause to spurn at him, but for the general.

” So we are led to believe that “sacrificing” Caesar is and honorable thing being done for the Roman people not just a well organized murder. This is one example of how no one is entirely good.

Next is Caesar’s right hand man, Marc Antony. He loved Caesar very much and was deeply saddened when Caesar was murdered. After this event, he persuades Brutus to let him speak at Caesar’s funeral as a friend. Act III scene 1 line 227-230 “And am moreover suitor that I may produce his body to the market place; and in the pulpit, as becomes a friend, speak in the order of his funeral” The real reason why Antony wanted to speak at the funeral was to let the people know that Brutus murdered Caesar for no good reason. He expresses his success in Act III scene 2 line 270-271 “Belike they has some notice of the people, how I had moved them.” Marc Antony never forgives Brutus and the other conspirators for murdering Caesar and even goes to war with them because of it. Antony fighting for his friend’s death shows that he is good. But he tricks the others which show’s some bad in him.

The last case is a little different than the others. This last example exactly isn’t of complete good or evil. It just shows how no one is perfect. Caesar was to be the ruler of the Roman Empire. Everyone thought that he was the best person for the job. He was thought of as a god. Gods are perfect and Caesar was far from it. In Act I scene 2 lines 111 Cassius tells Brutus stories of how weak Caesar is. “Caesar cried ‘help me, Cassius, or I sink.’” He continues by adding in lines 127-128 “Alas it cried, ‘give me some drink, Titinius,’ as a sick girl.” This shows how Caesar was not like any god even though that is what the people believed.

The whole point of this essay was to show how even in plays that it is impossible to have someone who is entirely good or evil. It’s just too unrealistic. As humans, we all possess good and bad characteristics. They may not be balanced but there isn’t anyone who is totally good or evil.

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Literary Essay – Julius Caesar Essay