How many ages hence Shall this our lofty scene be acted over, In states unborn, and accents yet unknown!
Commentary Julius Caesar is a play about moral ambiguity in a political setting and the personal tragedy that results.
It resembles both the History Plays, written somewhat earlier, and the great Tragedies, soon to come. Like the tragedies, it presents a protagonist who aspires to heroism and fails because of his own moral shortcomings.
At the same time, Julius Caesar also reflects the political philosophy that had informed the playwright's picture of English civil war in the history plays. Because civil disorder and violence are tragic for the entire society, their avoidance is a higher moral obligation than the pursuit or control of power, even for apparently just or moral purposes.
Therefore, for Shakespeare, the preservation of the political status quo is a primary good. Brutus, the protagonist of Julius Caesar, is an ambivalent figure who may be seen as both good and evil—an honorable man dedicated to the good of his country, but also a destroyer of its peace. The play's central action—the murder of Caesar—may seem an act of disinterested idealism or one of inflated self-love.
Twentieth-century views of the play reflect these possibilities: More recently, however, Caesar has been defended as a hero who is destroyed by a neurotically envious Brutus, who pursues glory without regard for the disaster he provokes.
These positions are not as mutually exclusive as they may seem; Julius Caesar is sometimes grouped with the Problem Plays as a work about the uncertain outcome of human endeavors.
In this light, the heart of Julius Caesar is the tension between Brutus' idealistic rejection of a dominating leader and the reality that human society requires the discipline that Caesar imposes. From another angle, the conflict occurs between the protagonist's obsessive demand for a perfect world and the catastrophe that follows in the real, imperfect world.
Thus Brutus' actions are both virtuous and disastrous. Precisely because this ambiguity is possible, Brutus is a tragic hero who attempts the humanly impossible and fails. At first glance, it seems odd that the play's title character is killed less than halfway through the work, but Caesar, though his part is small, dominates the whole drama.
First, his assumption of power in Rome stimulates the conspiracy; later, the inescapable memory of him inspires Antony and haunts Brutus. The telling comparisons between Brutus and Caesar demonstrate the play's most essential ambivalence: In this fashion, the morality of the assassination is questioned, and the importance of Caesar's leadership—first resented and then absent—remains evident.
Both Brutus and Caesar have great leadership qualities, and, being certain of his virtues, each is susceptible to flattery and manipulation by lesser men.
In murdering Caesar, Brutus follows the Caesar-like course of attempting to change society in accordance with his views. Similarly, in the war that follows the assassination, Brutus behaves as imperiously as Caesar did, enacting precisely the failings of autocratic leadership—the isolation from his followers, the presumption of sound decision-making, the potential for tyranny—that he had acted to prevent in killing Caesar.
Significantly, Caesar's Ghost identifies itself as Brutus' 'evil spirit' 4.
Nevertheless, Caesar is superior to Brutus in his analysis of Cassius and in his recognition that a single leader is needed to control Rome. Moreover, Brutus persistently makes bad judgments, and he suffers the consequences, going from error to error. He refuses to share leadership of the conspiracy with Cassius or Cicero.
His arrogant overconfidence is plainly demonstrated when he dismisses-Antony as an inconsequential underling in 2. Later, he twice rejects the advice of the more experienced Cassius, resulting in the failure of his cause at Philippi.
He is persistently blind to reality, following his own superficial rectitude to disaster. The patriotism he invokes is certainly a living ideal for Brutus, but it is also a cover for his vanity and his unacknowledged need to be like Caesar himself. As Brutus deteriorates morally in the second half of the play, becoming ever more Caesar-like, so Caesar himself seems to grow in worth as Rome collapses in the leadership vacuum created by his death.
This important point is made especially clear by the behaviorr of the Plebeians after the murder. Ironically, they hail Brutus as an autocrat—'Let him be Caesar' 3.
However, the fickle mob is immediately turned against Brutus by Antony's oration, and their brutality in killing the wrong Cinna in 3.
Brutus has unleashed a whirlwind. Brutus' attempts to dignify the assassination by invoking the gods through ritual are pointedly undercut. Brutus wishes to make a ceremony of the killing, saying, 'Let's be sacrificers, but not butchers' 2.
Another attempt to ritualize the murder occurs when Brutus leads the assassins in washing their hands in Caesar's blood, an act that only accentuates the violence of the deed.
In the second half of the play, Antony, heretofore an unimportant figure, suddenly comes into his own. He dominates the conspirators, taking control of Rome by the end of 3.Aug 08, · -Julius Caesar.
Intro – Julius Caesar is different from other tragedies such as King Lear or Hamlet in that the tragic hero is not immediately clear, though it does have one. It is a more nuanced and ambiguous work, with each character being both good and bad.
Gil, Daniel Juan. “Bare Life”: Political Order And The Specter Of Antisocial Being In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.” Common Knowledge (): 67– Academic Search Complete. Commentary. Julius Caesar is a play about moral ambiguity in a political setting and the personal tragedy that results.
It resembles both the History Plays, written somewhat earlier, and the great Tragedies, soon to come. Analysis of Political Morality in Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ (An Essay) 22 April Brutus’s Political Morality in Julius Caesar.
W illiam Shakespeare borrowed ideas from the . Julius Caesar is different from other tragedies such as King Lear or Hamlet in that the tragic hero is not immediately clear, though it does have caninariojana.com's the bright day that brings forth the adder -Julius Caesar Intro - Julius Caesar is different from other tragedies such .
Patrick Mulcahy: In 'Julius Caesar,' Shakespeare shows politics can be murder GREGORIO BORGIA / AP FIle Photo People wearing Roman centurion costumes lay a wreath in front of the Julius Ceasar.