Essay/Term paper: Difference between plutarchs and shakespeares julius caesar
Essay, term paper, research paper: Julius Caesar
Plutarch's and Shakespeare's Caesar
Julius Caesar was in a precarious situation. It could be interpreted that he
deserved the fate that pursued him for ambition or some other reason, or that it
was a cold murder for which he did not deserve. Both Shakespeare and Plutarch
wrote about Julius Caesar. Each tells the story a little differently. Plutarchs version
is more sympathetic to Caear's situation.
Shakespeare shows him to be an insensitive and conceited person thinking
only of himself. This is shown by his reaction to Calpurnia's dream. After her
description of her dream he says, "Caesar shall forth. The things that threatened
me Ne'er looked but on my back; when they shall see the face of Caesar, they are
vanished." This attitude to a warning implying that he was given fair warning and
his death was partially due to his over confidence. On the other hand Plutarch
gives him a more sensitive reaction to the dream in saying, "Caesar himself, it
seems was affected and by no means easy in his mind."
Moreover, Plutarch's writings show the long string of coincidences almost
as Fate were deeming it necessary for him to die, and that he had no control over
it. "...the scene of the final struggle and of the assassination made it perfectly clear
that some heavenly power was involved...directing that it" (the assassination)
"should take place just here. For here stood a statue of Pompey..." This stating
that Caesar's murder was the deceased Pompey's revenge for he was killed by
Caesar. Whereas, Shakespeare does not say anything about the statue and
shows the same coincidences in the play as warnings to him that out of his own
stupidity he did not take.
Lastly, after Caesar's death the Romans were enraged to revenge him at
the sight of his body and out of their love for him, in Plutarch's writing. In
Shakespeare's the Roman were enraged but quelled by Brutus' speech and
enraged again by Antony's. This showing the Roman to be mindless, moved only
by a good speech and not by their feelings for Caesar. This again showing
Plutarch's writing to be more sympathetic to Caesar than Shakespear's.
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