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Essay/Term paper: Julius caesar

Essay, term paper, research paper:  English Composition

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Julius Caesar

Themes play an integral role in the play Julius Caesar. The actions and the way that the characters express themselves define the themes in the play. The play is not comprised of one or two themes, but rather made up of an innumerable amount of them. A major theme in the play is fate. Fate is found from the smallest instance such as a dream to the prediction from a soothsayer. Another theme that is prevalent in the play is betrayal. Julius Caesar is betrayed along with many other people. Love is another theme that appears many times throughout the play. The love that is demonstrated in this play ranges from love between a husband and wife to the love for a country. Trust is another common theme in this play. Many characters in this play have trust in each other. They trust each other with their lives resulting in the death of many people. Loyalty is the final theme that is evident in this play. There are people who are loyal, and then there are people who are not loyal. The actions that these different characters make create a multitude of themes.

The theme that stands out the most in this play is fate. There is no doubt that there is divine intervention in this play. The destiny of many of the characters in this play have been prearranged because there are so many predictions or visions of the future that actually come true. For example, the soothsayer predicted that Julius Caesar was going to die on the Ides of March. (I. ii ll. 11-20) He did not make this prediction after he heard that Caesar was going to be assassinated, or the night before when everyone knew that he was going to die. He made this prediction many months in advance. The soothsayer knew that Caesar was going to die, because it was Caesar"s fate to die on the Ides of March. It has been predetermined that it was Caesar"s time to go on the Ides of March. Another instance of fate relating to the death of Caesar was the night before he died. His wife had an awful dream predicting that her husband was going to die in the house of the Senate the next day. Although Calpurnia told her husband of this, he chose to ignore resulting in his assassination. This is a strong example of fate because frequently throughout time people see the future in dreams. When a dream comes true it is a strong indication that there is divine intervention or that the future has already been planned out. Also the night before the death of Caesar, there was unexplainably weird weather.(II ii ll. 1-27) It was not the normal storm; it was a tremendous change in weather. This indicated that something awful was going to happen in the very near future. Another queer incident that occurred the night before Caesar"s death predicting a treacherous event was the unexplainable sights seen throughout Rome. There were crows circling in the wrong direction and other strange phenomena happening at the same time, leading only in one direction. There was going to be something awful in the near future. These bad signs had a reason. They all occurred because Caesar was going to die. It was a bit of foreshadowing by the God"s giving a hint to the sinister events to come. Fate was not only related to the death of Caesar, it was also related to the death of Brutus. Brutus was fleeing from Rome trying to defend himself from angry and loyal followers of Caesar when he saw Caesar"s ghost. When Brutus saw this ghost, it told him that he was going to die at Phillipi. Sure enough when Brutus was at Phillipi he was killed. It was very fitting that the ghost of Caesar told Brutus that he was going to die. Although it was fitting it was also a perfect example of fate. (Breakdown 1) It was a vision that Brutus had that predicted the future. This proves once again that many people"s destiny had been predetermined. The last example of fate that appears in the play is the note that Caesar receives seconds before he is assassinated. He is given a note that says that he is going to be assassinated. He does not even read the note he decides that he needs to enter the Capitol of the Senate. It is fate that someone knew that Caesar was going to be killed, but it is also fate that Caesar was killed. (Paraphrase 2) He had so many warnings that he ignored, it was his fate to die. He was going to die not matter how many warnings he received.

Betrayal is a theme that gives the play its action and gives the audience something to scorn. The most evident form of betrayal is when Brutus betrays Caesar. If there was one person in the world that Caesar would not expect to betray him it would be Brutus, but he does. Brutus is actually one of the people who planned to kill Caesar. Brutus was convinced that Caesar needed to die for the betterment of the empire so Brutus, like a fool, stabs his best friend for reasons that were not worthy. (Breakdown 1) Cassius on the other hand is the character in the play that betrays the most people. Cassius is basically the devil who has no conscience and betrays many people. Cassius is the one who convinces Brutus that Caesar is being unjust and has too much power.(II ii ll. 311-321) Cassius convinces Brutus that they will lose their luxurious lifestyles if Caesar continues to leave. This does not seem like betrayal, but it is because Cassius knows that Caesar is a good and fair leader. He just wants him dead so that he can seize power of Rome. Cassius also betrays his loyal troops. When they are fighting for Cassius he decides that it is a good time to commit suicide. When his loyal troops are in the heat of battle and they are in dire need of his help Cassius betrays them and takes the easy way out. To sum up Cassius" character it could be said that he is a deceitful cheater. Another example of betrayal in the play is not a bad type of betrayal. The example is when Marc Antony gets up at Caesar"s public funeral to say a few words.(III ii ll. 75-110) He convinces Cassius and the other conspirators that he is only going to say a few good words so that Caesar may rest in peace. But in actuality he had a plan to enrage all the people who came to see Caesar. When he got up to speak to the people he only talked about how Caesar was a great leader and made the country prosperous and he was killed without cause. He kept going on and on about how Caesar should still be alive and the conspirators are to blame. Marc Antony kept getting the people all riled up until the could not take it anymore and they chased the conspirators out of town trying to kill them in revenge for their leader. (Breakdown 3) Betrayal was created from all of the different characters" personalities.

Love is a bond that people feel towards someone or something. Love can make people do things that they would normally not do, and people will go to great extents for their love. In Julius Caesar the theme of love is exhibited more than once. The most notable instance of love is Brutus" love for his country. (Paraphrase 4) He loved Rome so much that he was willing to sacrifice his best friend for what he thought would benefit his country. Brutus was convinced that his best friend must die in order to preserve the peace and tranquility in Rome. Brutus also stated that he was willing to sacrifice his own life if it would make his country a better place. This love Brutus had for his country cannot be compared with any other love from anyone. He made the ultimate sacrifice for the country he loved. It is too bad that he was deceived into killing his best friend for no reason. A type of love that was exhibited in this play was a selfish love. The conspirators had a greedy type of love for their lifestyle. The loved the way that they lived because they were on top of the world. They had power and they felt threatened that they were going to lose it so they had Caesar killed. That is a selfish love that resulted in the death of many people. Caesar"s wife Calpurnia had an undying love for Caesar. Calpurnia continued to badger Caesar not to go to the Capitol so that he will not die.(II ii ll. 13-26) She loves Caesar so much that she does her best to try and save his life. The last type of love that is apparent in the play is the love from many people to their leader. In the play Julius Caesar has a tremendous amount of followers. They do not just follow him because he his rich and powerful they follow him because they love him and they know that he will do what is best for them. Their love is made apparent after Caesar is dead. They showed that they loved him because when he died they wanted to seek revenge on the conspirators. They hated them so much for killing their leader that they chased the conspirators until they were all dead.(III ii ll. 233-244) This effort to seek revenge on the conspirators just shows how much everyone loved Caesar. Nobody was forced to kill the conspirators; the people wanted to do it because they loved Caesar so much. Love is a powerful force and it controls many people and many things.

Trust is a theme in the play that can be connected to every character. Each character has either trusted someone or has been trusted themselves. Caesar trusted many people while he was still alive. He placed trust in people so that he could ensure his safety along with the success of Rome. (Paraphrase 1) Brutus was one of Caesar"s most trusted friends and advisors. Caesar thought that he could tell secrets to Brutus that he could not tell anyone. He also thought that he could trust Brutus not to stab him in the back or try and overthrow him. Caesar also trusted Marc Antony. Marc Antony was one of Caesar"s most trusted friends and was frequently consulted for many of Caesar"s important decisions. Marc Antony was a true friend to Caesar; it was a good thing that Caesar trusted Marc Antony because he was just about the only friend that did not betray Caesar. In the play Brutus trusted many people too. He placed his trust in Antony. He placed trust in Antony when Antony was supposed to give a nice speech at Caesar"s funeral. He trusted that Antony would not try and turn everyone against him. Brutus also placed trust in Cassius. Brutus trusted that Cassius was telling him the truth and that when they killed Caesar it would be the best for the country. (Paraphrase 2) Brutus was a very trusting man, he trusted just about everyone. He appeared to be an honest man, but he was later proved not to be so honest because he trusted the wrong people. Trust is something that should be earned and not given to everyone that comes along. Brutus was too liberal with his trust and gave it out to too many people and they turned out to be the wrong people so he had to suffer the consequences. The trust that Brutus had was similar to the trust that the soldiers in the Trojan War had in their leaders. (Iliad) In the Iliad the soldiers placed all of their trust in their leaders and they won the war as a result of it. They knew that the plan that their leaders had devised was utterly brilliant. They trusted that the leaders knew what they were doing and they laid their lives on the line for it. Brutus trusted people like that and so did Caesar. They both received repercussions for trusting the wrong people.

The final theme that is portrayed in this play is loyalty. The loyalty and the disloyalty in this play create an interesting plot as well as show the true person that is in each character. One of the characters that was loyal to his friends was Marc Antony. Marc Antony was loyal to Caesar even after he died. Antony stood up for his friends even when he had nobody else standing up with him. Someone that was loyal that did not appear to be loyal was Brutus. He was not loyal to his friends such as Caesar he was loyal to his country. He was loyal to his country because he was always looking out for the best interest of the country. He did not care if he had to kill himself or one of his friends to make the country a better place. Brutus would be an extremely good servant because of his degree of loyalty. (Breakdown 2) Although Brutus was extremely loyal he may have carried it too far. He let his loyalty get in the way of his better judgment. In this play there were more people who were not loyal compared to the people who were loyal. At the top of the list of people who were not loyal was Brutus. Brutus, although loyal to his country, was extremely disloyal to his close friend Caesar. (III i ll. 78) It is one thing to not be loyal and change sides during the middle of a war, but it is completely wrong to change sides in the middle of a secret conspiracy and deceive one of your apparent friends. To trick one of your friends and set him up to be killed is crossing the line. That is a whole other dimension that should not be messed with. Another person who was disloyal was Cassius. Cassius was extremely disloyal to his country that he pretended to try and help. (Paraphrase 3) Cassius was not concerned with who he hurt or what he did as long as he could keep his fame and fortune. He did not want what was best for his country he only wanted what was best for him. He had the greatest leader of all time killed so that he could keep his lifestyle. He was completely disloyal to his country. Cassius was also disloyal to his troops. When he was on the run from the citizens of Rome and his troops were putting their lives on the line to defend him he committed suicide. (V iii ll. 150-160) His troops were giving their lives for him, all they wanted was his leadership and he did not give that to them. He copped out and killed himself. It was easier to commit suicide than lead his troops to victory. As a result of a huge amount of betrayal many people died in this play.

In conclusion there were many themes that were present in this play. The themes ranged from fate to loyalty. With the presence of the themes it dramatically changed the play. As a result of fate in the play Caesar died. He had his destiny set out for him before he actually did it so his death was inevitable. Betrayal changed the play drastically. If Brutus never betrayed Caesar then there would have been no play. Caesar would still be alive and ruling the country. Love also changed the play because it further proves that it was Caesar"s fate to die. No matter how much his wife loved him or how many times she warned him about bad things to come he still died. Love in this play also created problems such as the assassination of Caesar. Brutus" love for his country ultimately led to the assassination of Caesar. Trust had a profound affect on the play too. The trust that was broken and the trust that held strong allowed for interesting disputes and malicious attacks. Loyalty had a large affect on the play too. From the disloyalty of Cassius to the loyalty of Antony many people were supported or killed as a result of loyalty. All in all this typical Shakespearean play had all of the malicious deaths as well as the unbridled love. What makes this play different from all of the other Shakespearean tragedies is the fact that everything, every action is supported with a theme. That is why the themes in this play have an integral role.

Works Cited

 Break Down of Julius Caesar. Http://techtwo.mit.edu/shakespeare/tradgedy/juliuscaesar/juliuscaesar.html

 Homer. The Iliad. Fitzgerald,1974

 Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Yale University Press,1919

 A Paraphrase of Julius Caesar. http://members.tripod.com/~lklivingston/caesar.com


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