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Julius Caesar; Examine in detail paying particular attention to how the passage introduces key elements of the play

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Introduction

Examine in detail paying particular attention to how the passage introduces key elements of the play The following passage is taken from the first scene of the play 'Julius Caesar' by William Shakespeare. This first scene is vital as it introduces the two classes of people in the Republic of Rome and the relationship between them. Caesar is introduced in this passage to the audience but is not actually seen, which creates a figurative podium increasing the tension around his arrival and suggesting he is of great importance and standing. In this passage key elements such as: the relationship between the commoners and the tribunes, the fickleness of the people and Caesar's influence. These elements create a tumultuous mood; the Tribunes' worry and concern is juxtaposed by the general public who are rejoicing at Caesars arrival. The relationship between the commoners and the Tribunes are introduced in this play. The Tribunes use imperatives when speaking to the commoners, Murellus states "Answer me directly" this shows that he considers himself of a higher class then the people who voted for him. ...read more.

Middle

Murellus cannot understand the fickleness of the proletariat; he verbally attacks them by listing "...blocks, stones...". By using the Shakespearian table of hierarchy we see that at the top is Caesar and then the Tribunes; who are accusing the commoners of being rocks and stones, objects that are below any ranking. Murellus uses a rhetorical question to try and draw some emotion out of the plebs "Knew you not Pompey?" he asks, trying to show them how fickle they are. Then Shakespeare uses parallelism and a triple-device when Murrells asks three time "...And do you now...". The scene sets out the play in that it shows the two different classes, the lower-class is rigorous in their support of Caesar and can only see him as a hero, even asking him to become king later in the play, whereas the tribunes fear his power. This represents a society where instead of the elected leaders following the wishes of their constituents, they instead feel forced to protect them against their own ignorance. ...read more.

Conclusion

One of the motifs of the play is how the use of rhetoric can change the tide of public opinion, as the river Tiber swells, 'chafing with its shores". A number of key elements are represented in this passage, such as the relationship between the proletariats and their superiors and the ever-changing tide of public opinion in respects to the commoners and their support of Caesar in place of Pompey. 'Julius Caesar' carries a moral that has lasted through history, namely, of the power struggle between the commoners and those that seek to lead them. This is reminiscent of modern times where the majority rally behind one man of whom they know very little about but adores his every word, whereas the minority of intellectuals can only see faults and the dangers that this man brings. 'Julius Caesar' serves as a warning to today's leaders, thus which is equally applicable in these times as it was in the past. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jacob Meagher Tuesday, February 03, 2009 Page 1 of 2 ...read more.

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