Julius Caesar Bad Omens Analysis

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Could thunderstorms and a nightmare lead to the death of a man? What about ravens leading to losing a war battle? In ancient Rome, many things were considered bad omens. If these things did happen, they could be interpreted in many different ways. Therefore, since the setting of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar was placed in ancient Rome, Shakespeare used bad omens to foreshadow negative events to come throughout the play.

The first example of this in Julius Caesar is when two potential conspirators’ conversation was interrupted when severe thunderstorms tore through Rome. A panicked Casca stood in the street with Cicero. He was quick to believe that the storm and any strange happenings in the capitol were foreshadowing events to come. Casca said “Are you not moved when all the sway of the earth shakes
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After the murder of Caesar, while Rome was in chaos, armies were preparing for civil war. While one army was marching to battle, eagles disappeared and were replaced by many black birds. Cassius said “And in their steads do ravens, crows, and kites fly o’er our heads… their shadows seem a canopy most fatal under which our army lies.” (904) Cassius stated that it felt like a canopy most fatal, meaning a rooflike covering foretelling death. That is exactly what it was. Looking ahead to the battle at Philippi, Cassius and Brutus did indeed lose the battle along with their own lives.
Ancient romans interpreted omens in several different ways. However, in Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, the use of bad omens foreshadowed negative events to come later within the play. Many omens were incorporated prior to Act 3 to foreshadow the death of Caesar. Some were also left to foreshadow the army’s failure at Philippi after Act 3. In today’s society, bad omens are less influential than in ancient Rome, however, many still choose to listen to
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