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

What is Julius Caesar like?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What sort of a man is Julius Caesar? Consider the evidence offered by at least four different characters, including Julius Caesar himself. "... he doth bestride the narrow world Like a Colossus, and we petty men Walk under his huge legs and peep about To find ourselves dishonourable graves." (Cassius I.ii.135-137) This is what history tells us about Julius Caesar and probably what Julius Caesar would like us to think of him. However, the quotation is not just Cassius' view; it is probably William Shakespeare's and many historians' as well. However, Julius Caesar is more complex than that. To discover what sort a man he is in Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, we must examine what he says, what he does and what others say about him. The characters of Brutus, Mark Antony and Cassius are vital to finding out what sort a man Caesar is. In Act Two, Shakespeare presents to the audience a Julius Caesar character that is wide open to interpretation through Caesar's actions. In the second scene of the act, Julius Caesar relies on the gods to guide him when he hears of Calphurnia's dreams about him being killed. This is also a link to Elizabeth the First's character, the monarch at the time of the writing of the play. ...read more.

Middle

Mark Antony, despite what the conspirators think, feels that Caesar is not at all ambitious because Caesar did not accept dictatorship of Rome, a republic, despite being offered three times. "I thrice presented him a kingly crown, Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?" (Mark Antony III.ii.93-94) In the quotation above, we see how disgusting Antony finds the idea of Caesar being ambitious. The technique that he uses to tell the Roman citizens, and the audience watching, this is very crafty. First, he uses a rhetorical question to make his audience think seriously about whether Caesar really is an ambitious man. In the rhetorical question, "Was this ambition?" there is a strong flavour of irony which adds the effect which the rhetorical question itself creates. Combined with a change of voice and a serious facial expression, the actor in the role of Mark Antony will be able to put his point across to his audience effectively. In his last speech, in the fifth scene of Act Five, Mark Antony exposes and sums up to the audience what he thinks of Caesar in two lines. "This [Caesar's corpse] was the noblest Roman of them all. All the conspirators save only he Did that they did in envy of great Caesar." ...read more.

Conclusion

Overall, in the play, Julius Caesar, the characters of Brutus, Cassius, Mark Antony, Calphurnia, Caesar and Shakespeare, through Caesar's actions, have given the audience mixed views of Julius Caesar's character. Brutus shows Caesar as a dangerously power-hungry man; Cassius gives the impression that Caesar is a cowardly, weak leader, unfit to rule Rome. Mark Antony insists that Caesar is the greatest man ever and was certainly not ambitious whilst Caesar himself firmly believes himself to be a brave and fearsome. Shakespeare, through Caesar's actions portrays a character widely exposed to interpretation. Take the crown incident for example, did Caesar refuse the crown sincerely because he is not ambitious, or did he refuse the crown to make a hide his ambition away from the Roman public? Through the play, it is not Caesar's character that changes, it is the perceptions of him that change. The perceptions of Caesar change because of what the characters in the play say about him. Should the views of all the characters be combined, we get a Julius Caesar who is great, brave, fearless, fearsome but weak and arguably ambitious. By the end of the play, Shakespeare has led the audience to perceive Caesar, as history does, as a great man. I, like history and many after Caesar, see the lasting impression he has, a great leader of Rome who was wrongly killed. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    The Gender Transformation of Caesar

    5 star(s)

    Antony's prediction that "'Domestic fury and fierce civil strive/ Shall cumber all part of Italy'" announces that Caesar's murder threatens disruption of the motherland of Rome (3.1.263-264).

  2. Julius Caesar- Mark Antony speech - Analysis

    stands over his body and calls him 'the noblest Roman of them all' and states that 'this was a man'. This also parallels Antony's funeral oration over Caesar's body. As the play ends with Brutus's death, it can be argued that he is the tragic hero.

  1. How do Brutus and Cassius change throughout the play of Julius Csar?

    He accuses Cassius of not sending him gold to pay his army, and this leads to another childish argument. Brutus and Cassius bandy words like five year olds saying: "I denied you not. You did. I did not" This shows the extent their tempers have reached.

  2. Explore the ways in which leadership is presented in the play 'Julius caesar'

    Brutus is loved by his servant, his wife and Cassius. Brutus is a respected person so the conspirators want to use him as a figurehead as part of the conspiracy. Brutus has the main qualities of a good leader, he is loved, respected and followed and he cares about the public good.

  1. How suitably is the theme of the supernatural depicted in the play 'Julius Caesar'?

    The storm appealed to the Elizabethan audiences as they hungered for strange and supernatural events. Shakespeare is a genius in portraying the power of the storm through his language which is very effective. He uses descriptive words and words which create visual effects in our mind.Cassius shows us the supernatural

  2. Julius Caesar

    also know that Brutus conspired against Caesar from the goodness of his heart, and he had Rome's best interests at heart. We also know that he was a republican, so he didn't want a king, which is why he got rid of Caesar; as he thought that he would eventually take the crown and become the monarch of Rome.

  1. Free essay

    Julius Caesar

    When Brutus and Antony both speak at the funeral it was meant to tell the people about Caesar but the way they both did it showed they had their own purpose for making the speech. Within both speeches you could see how they had their own unique way of addressing the crowd as well as different persuasive techniques.

  2. The extract given below is from Act 1 scene (i) of the play Julius ...

    Flavius says that to prevent the gods from starting another plague, they must assemble all the commoners who have gathered like them, and go and cry in the banks of the river Tiber. After the commoners exit, Flavius then tells Marullus to go toward the Capitol and disrobe the images of Caesar.

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