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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Document length: 1881 words

Julius Caesar Essay

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Compare the Funeral Speeches of Brutus and Anthony, Showing How They Affect the People Listening "Thou art the ruins of the noblest man that ever lived in the tide of the times." Julius Caesar was brutally slaughtered by a group of conspirators led by the noble Brutus. William Shakespeare interpreted this event in history and suggests that it took place because of Caesar's ambition. Now, we look at ambition as being a good thing but in the context of 'Julius Caesar' it portrays ruthless, selfish ambition. Caesar could have escaped his morbid fate if he had heeded the ominous words of a soothsayer, "Beware the ides of March." The warning of his wife's, Calphurnia, dreams where Caesar's statue spurts out blood also foreshadows a sense of foreboding which the superstitious Elizabethan audience would have easily tapped into. Various other scenes such as terrible storms thought to mirror the Gods anger with the hellish happenings in Rome would not have helped to put the people of Rome, or Shakespeare's audience at ease. However despite all caution, he goes with the conspirators to the capital and to his death. Shakespeare creates a significant, dramatic change in the character of Caesar; at the start of the play, Caesar doesn't pay heed to the soothsayer, nor is he superstitious, "He is a dreamer; let us leave him, pass." But by the time he is killed, he is much more superstitious and cautious, "Go bid the priests do present sacrifice, and bring their opinions of success."

Middle

This is to make sure that they definitely understand him. He makes a lot of pauses, giving the crowd, and again the audience mirrored by the crowd, a chance to reply or to absorb what he says. "If any, speak for him I have offended." This is marked by deliberate punctuation in the script and shows Brutus' power over the plebeians and the audience. The questions posed by Brutus makes the crowd consider the answer, and no one would admit to being against Rome or a slave etc. Brutus says he is not ashamed of what the conspirators have done, make the plebeians and the audience think he is more honourable and trustworthy because he is not ashamed and stands by what he has done and believes to be right and moral. "I have done no more to Caesar than you shall do to Brutus." At the end of Brutus' speech the fickle plebeians have been manipulated into another point of view, exactly where Brutus wants them to be. The audience have also been manipulated and driven into a certain way of thinking. In a way, I can feel almost sorry for the people of Rome and in cases today when people are manipulated and their mind moulded into a certain way of thinking by heartless or malicious politicians. Mark Anthony presents an alternative view to the people and tries to make himself appear humble by appealing to a different nature of them.

Conclusion

This makes the play a good one and the reason thousands of people would flock to see Shakespeare's plays like they still do today. The audience was told earlier that Mark Anthony is not as trustworthy as Brutus may think. Anthony's Monologue, which reveals the characters true thoughts and feelings and is therefore believed fully by the audience, would make the audience wary and distrusting of Anthony's character. "Now let it work mischief, then art afoot, take then what course thou wilt." This is significant because it shows us that his motives are more complex than he shows on the surface, that he would be quite happy to see the downfall of Rome to get revenge on the conspirators. It shows he is a lot more dangerous than Brutus suspects. During the funeral, the audience and the plebeian's views are changed several times due to the responses of persuasive and manipulative tactics carried out by Brutus and Mark. This results in the crowd baying for Brutus' blood. "Most noble Caesar, we'll revenge his death!" This also shows that Anthony's speech was more powerful over the crowd. I found the Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar' quite interesting. I think that Brutus is very naive as he openly trusted Anthony without question and that the citizens are very easily influenced to the point where sympathy can almost be felt for them. I think it shows just how politicians manipulate and control people, a feeling that can be applied to a lot of situations in all of our lives regarding authority. 1 Josh McCartney 11Sl

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