Julius Caesar Tragedy Analysis

1637 Words7 Pages
Dasheng Bi
Robin Yao
Robin’s English 2017 S2: Section 1
5 November 2017
From whom does Tragedy Arise: An Analysis of Julius Caesar Shakespeare’s plays, especially his tragedies, are celebrated across the world. Though many of his other tragedies, such as Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, and Hamlet, are more famous and recognized, I find the play Julius Caesar to be at least as much, if not more, moving and tragic. The play is based on the historical event of the assassination of Caesar, the prominent politician and general of the Roman Republic. It depicts the events leading to and following Caesar’s death with somewhat of a historical accuracy, but focuses more on the psychological development of characters rather than Roman history. The play
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A notable feature of Julius Caesar is that the initially supposedly main character—Caesar—dies in the middle of the play. The reader eventually realizes that the play is actually of not one, but two separate but closely mirroring tragedies. The famous line “Et tu, Brute?” (3.1.77) serves as a signal for which the scenes following it reveals the tragedy of Brutus in more detail. The tragedy of the first two acts is of Caesar, and all of his flaws culminate to this point, where the conspirators, including his friend Brutus, assassinate him. The significance of this line is that it links together the two tragic characters—Caesar and Brutus—in a close way not witnessed elsewhere in this play. This line is also played out meticulously in the actual drama, in which Caesar, upon realizing that Brutus, a person he trusted, was also entangled in the matter of murdering him, stops his initial resistance towards the conspirators and dies. This simple line is arguably the most influential one in the entire play, as it not only resolves Caesar’s tragedy by finally clarifying the reason for his death—overconfidence and stubbornness; more importantly, this line serves as a milestone of no return for Brutus. Brutus, after this line, is automatically grouped with Cassius and the other collaborators, despite his actual integrity and loyalty for Rome—unique to the group of antagonists. This line exemplifies the…show more content…
This trait is depicted in detail in many different points in the play. For example, when a Soothsayer warns him “Beware the Ides of March,” (1.2.23), Caesar responds with a condescending and apathetic, “He is a dreamer. Let us leave him. Pass.” (1.2.24). A notable point here is that the “dreamer” closely mirrors Calphurnia, his wife, who gives him the same piece of information pointing to the Ides of March in the second act. Her dream, described as “A lioness hath whelped in the streets … drizzled blood upon the Capitol … and I do fear them,” (2.2.17-26) is essentially a recollection of the sayings of the Soothsayer, as the day of the dream is “March … wasted fifteen days.” (2.1.59) However, Caesar responds to his wife’s worries with “Yet Caesar shall go forth, for these predictions are to the world in general as to Caesar,” (2.2.29-30) showing his incomparable courage. Even though the priests—mouths of God—say that “They would not have you to stir forth today,” (2.2.38) he chooses to go against the wills of God by proclaiming “Danger knows full well that Caesar is more dangerous than he … and Caesar shall go forth.” (2.2.44-8) This magnitude of nonchalance towards the advice of other people, howbeit metaphysical, exemplifies Caesar’s overconfidence in himself, which contributes to his eventual

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