• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How do portents, omens and dreams add to the dramatic tension before Julius Caesar's murder, in 'Julius Caesar'?

Extracts from this document...


How do portents, omens and dreams add to the dramatic tension before Julius Caesar's murder, in 'Julius Caesar'? Julius Caesar is one of Shakespeare's greatest plays because in it he deals powerfully and excitingly with the themes of power and conscience. Particularly in 'Julius Caesar' Shakespeare uses disruptions as portents, omens and predictions to give us a sense of approach of terrible events. Shakespeare lived the Elizabethan period; therefore like many Elizabethans he would have had the conception of the divine order of the universe being mystical. Similar to the characters in 'Julius Caesar' the Elizabethans would see storms as a warning to some sort of disaster or calamity to be visited upon men, pagan or Christian, by God. Also many Elizabethans were superstitious about things, which explains Shakespeare's use of predictions and omens in the play. The uses of these techniques allow Shakespeare to create dramatic tension in the play, as shown in acts 1-3, before his death. Shakespeare starts of relatively early on in the play where in Act one, scene two; a soothsayer approaches Julius Caesar. A soothsayer can be described as a prophet-like being that has special abilities to see what troubles or fortunes are forthcoming. In this case, the soothsayer tells Caesar to 'beware the ides of March'; this is an example of a bad omen, which predicts a bad outcome on the 15th March. ...read more.


Cassius's reactions to the storm are really noticed in the scene; instead he is more focused on the plot to get rid of Julius Caesar. This shows the audience that Cassius is smart enough to 'construe things after his fashion'. It leaves the audience with two options either God is unhappy with the conspirators or with Caesar. In Act two Scene two, we see one of the main dreams of the play. Caesar is at his house and there is another storm, his reactions to the storm were actually quite different then to Casca, he asks sacrifices to be made and omens to be read all day. As the leader of the country Julius Caesar would feel directly linked to God, so he must feel that as a result to avoid any evil portents he must make a sacrifice. The audience's view of this would be that Julius Caesar is misinterpreting events, which could lead to his death. The main part of this scene is when Caesar's wife, Calaphurnia has a bad dream of evil portents and begs Caesar not to go out. Calaphurnia is afraid, and has had a dream of Caesar statue bleeding from many wounds. This is possibly the only part of the play where the audience knows that Caser will actually be murdered, just by a dream. ...read more.


The dramatic tension started to increase when Julius Caesar was showing arrogance by describing himself as a lion, as Mount Olympus, these are all images of God like greatness. When Caesar starts talking he is very arrogant and uninterested. He does not look at the people he is talking to as he is above them in his own mind. He therefore looks as he is addressing no one in particular as to him, no one else matters. Which in the end had resulted to the death of Julius Caesar. Shakespeare shows in 'Macbeth', that Duncan dies due to a religious offence and it was not greed and ambition that led to it, although Julius Caesar is a different play in terms of themes, the style in which portents are used are basically the same. For example in 'Macbeth', the witches warn Macbeth of the danger he'll come across, similar to Caesar he ignores them. Also when Macbeth had the dream when he had blood all over his hands after killing King Duncan, there was a great build-up of dramatic tension. We find that some of Shakespeare's play are linked, possibly due to that there might have been based on the Elizabethan era, whereby people took portents and omens quite seriously. So by using the style of writing with uses these effects, Shakespeare creates great tension in his plays. Fahad Syed 11.07 English GCSE Coursework 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Julius Caesar section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Julius Caesar essays

  1. Explore the dramatic effectiveness of Act 1 of Julius Caesar.

    to have children "Forget not in your speed, Antonio, To touch Calpurnia, for our elders say The barren, touched in this holy chase, Shake off their sterile curse." Caesar has to appear as though it is not his fault. If Caesar appears to be a weak ruler then the population might rebel.

  2. Julius Caesar

    The use of foreshadowing is clever in this scene as it gives us a subtle hint of what might happen in the play. In act 3, Caesar arrogantly tells the soothsayer that today is the "ides of March", but the soothsayer replies, "the day is not over yet...".

  1. Julius Caesar

    He knows they are simple folk who have know political power other than being voters so he pretends to be on of them; the average man. He says, 'I am not an orator like Brutus is' when clearly he is as he has been delivering his speech for about ten minutes and carries on for about another ten minutes.

  2. What is Julius Caesar like?

    The second interpretation to the quotation presents the audience with a very different Julius Caesar. Caesar is supposed to be a practical politician; making sacrifices and asking for guidance from elsewhere could be seen as being superstitious lacking self-confidence. Yet, self-confidence was another vital ingredient in becoming a good Roman leader.

  1. Abuse of Power in Julius Caesar

    In the Roman times the women did not have the complete freedom and they were consider like a second class person. In the situation that Caesar was performing the point of a woman, was view bad, even more in the case of the ruler of Rome.

  2. Show how Shakespeare demonstrates the use of persuasion with close reference to the play ...

    Through his soliloquy Brutus is trying to persuade himself to act on Caesar's growing power. He says that 'I know no personal cause to spern him' (II.I.11) But he manages to change his mind and convert himself to an enemy of Caesar, remembering all the things Cassius has told him ,and how this will benefit Rome in the future.

  1. William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

    The rest of the conspirators agree with Brutus because they would rather have him join than Cicero. "Then leave [Cicero] out." "Indeed he is not fit." 6. When Brutus says he does not want Cicero to be included in assassinating Julius Caesar, Cassius says "then leave him out."

  2. How Shakespeare Creates Tension in Julius Caesar Act 1 Scene 3.

    However in these times committing suicide was seen as a heroic and noble act and therefore Cassius would be seen as a heroic figure and this would further damage the image of Caesar should it happen. On top of this, Cassius further shows his dislike for Caesar when he says

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work