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Julius Caesar : A History? A play of its times? A play of all times?

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Introduction

Julius Caesar : A History? A play of its times? A play of all times? Julius Caesar still maintains great popularity in school studies and with theatrical audiences since 1599 when the first production of Julius Caesar took place. In my exploration of the play I will discover a new meaning to the word history as told by Shakespeare. But will then continue to explore if this meaning assists the answering of the first question in my studies. I will delve into Elizabethan England to deliberate whether Julius Caesar is a mirror depicting the time it was written. The final theme I will consider is if Julius Caesar is a thing of the past or a relevant piece of writing that can have meaning in generations gone by and generations to come. Firstly, "A History?" will be considered. The word history is not to be fixated to the idea that it is just factual knowledge, for example dates and names, therefore I need to generate the meaning of history by exploring different views. The classification by Genre gave a new meaning to history in 1623 when history was described in the sense of Shakespeare's play writing. ...read more.

Middle

Plutarch was written some eighty years after the events of Julius Caesar's life and probably told to him by word of mouth, this could mean that some facts were changed so Plutarch's text may not be directly history itself. In conclusion, I feel the question "is Julius Caesar a history?" to be a difficult question to answer. Every point made for it being a history can be disputed by another point against it. Some evidence of this is shown when comparing the different descriptions of the feast of Lupercal. Also, more problems in answering the question occur when doubting how reliable the secondary source is. All these different pieces of information leave me with the conclusion Julius Caesar cannot be purely described as a history nor as just a piece of fiction. Therefore I believe that Julius Caesar is hypothetical history. Whilst containing some historical facts the gaps e.g. feelings and emotions of characters, cannot be disproved or approved but are based on the hypothesis of Shakespeare in order to entertain. During the space in which Julius Caesar was written, the queen - Elizabeth the first - had been subject to many assassination attempts. ...read more.

Conclusion

The play was sub-titled "Death of Dictator" and spectacled on Caesar being desirous of absolute power. The contextual relevance to the date it was written was Hitler taking power over many countries and fascism's widespread in Europe. In conclusion, I believe Julius Caesar to be "of all times." Its contextual relevance in years gone by and the present day is clearly shown above. Many directors who updated Julius Caesar slightly are proof that Julius Caesar has such a strong relevance to all times. The time taken to edit it a little reflects on how important Julius Caesar must be to all times. Finally, I believe Julius Caesar to be both successful and popular. Readers and theatre audiences are entertained by the play originally written four hundred years ago. I found the play to be educating even though it is only hypothetical history because of its fictional content. Julius Caesar is clearly a play of its times as it reflects Elizabethan society and the happenings of the day greatly. Past day governmental and social happenings prove to us that Julius Caesar is a play of all times. With its continuing relevance and historical lessons there should be no shock in realising Julius Caesar remains popular even today. Samantha Edwards ...read more.

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