The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is a unique play compared to other tragedies such as King Lear or Hamlet given that the tragic hero is not instantly known even though there is one. The play is very different and equivocal as each character is portrayed as both good and bad. The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is a political annotation that replicates civil war qualms and sequence in Shakespeare’s particular times. Notably, the play is also sprinkled with philosophical echoes.
The setting of the play covers the year 44 B.C. The Roman Republic had lived for more than 40 decades. The period is linked with liberation as well as division on the basis of class involving the patricians and plebeians, which makes it more captivating to delve into the people’s tribunes at the commencement of the play as well as the reason behind the conspirators not considered as revolutionaries given the fact that they only sought after restoring the deep-rooted status quo. While this might have been much earlier, the collapse of the Republic is usually coined with Caesar’s demise. However, it should be noted that the period of the Roman Empire often starts with Octavian who was the first ruler and nephew as well as Caesar’s adoptive son (Shakespeare, 1915). From the historians, it is known that Shakespeare would have regarded this as an undesirable transformation, and certainly observed the world around him and dreaded a similar change in England.
While a lot of history has been ignored in this play besides there being several other relevant things left undisclosed including Julius Caesar asserting himself to be the son of Venus. Notably, Shakespeare opts to elucidate certain unclear facets surrounding Caesar’s life including his epilepsy as well as his wife’s sterility (Shakespeare, 1915). These facts are laid bare given the credence that nature replicates human activities and these facts only served to indicate Caesar’s incapacity to rule as well as a warning against him. Notably, the aforementioned were regarded as heavenly curses during the Romans’ own times.
In the end, the readers’ points of view onthe characters become well-adjusted. Brutus murders his own father, Brutus is ridiculed by Casca, and Lepidus is tarnished by Antony. That is it, all sides are left even. Despite viewing the crowds generally as foolish, Shakespeare appears to reason that the discrepancy among the patricians and plebs was incorrect because they behaved the same way. For instance, Decius manipulates Caesar quite as easy as his wife does. Similarly, Brutus is aggravated by Cassius only to kill his own father. Notably, the whole plan was sloppy because the conspirators thought that they had the masses behind their backs without a second thought regarding the aftermath of his assassination. Cassius affirms that it is not Caesar but they had epilepsy, “No, Caesar hath it not. But you and I / And honest Casca, we have the falling sickness.”(Shakespeare, 2014).
Shakespeare leaves the readers with a final moral note of stoicism where he unveils honor, duty, and a stoic insignificance to individual destiny to be the only life’s redeeming traits. Several characters in take their own lives in the end and Casca says that, “So can I / So every bondman in his own hand bears / The power to cancel his captivity.”(Shakespeare, 2014). Characters could have chosen destinies worse than death such as humiliation, which they would have tolerated if the imperial faction seized them and the Stoics would have consented this wholeheartedly.
Shakespeare, W. (1915). Julius Caesar. New York: University Press.
Shakespeare, W. (2014). The Tragedy of Julius Caesar: First Avenue Classics. New York: First Avenue Editions.