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Would Julius Caesar have become a Tyrant if he'd been allowed to live?

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Introduction

Would Julius Caesar have become a Tyrant if he'd been allowed to live? Julius Caesar: the ruler of Rome who was slain because he was 'ambitious', yet how much of this statement is true. The Shakespeare play begins with a triumphant Caesar: the previous triumvirate dissipated - Crassus dead in battle and Pompey assassinated a new system is in place with Caesar at the top. Yet was it just unhappy chance that brought us here, or the continuation, and works instigated as a result, of Caesar's ambition? Caesar was judiciously reviewed by the conspirators as 'too ambitious' for the glory of Rome, and as it transpires, for his own good as well - he was murdered because of it. Was said, in truth, a judicious review or one afflicted and soiled by the personal feelings of Cassius - a jealous nostalgic man? Is Brutus really the quintessence of honour, whether he believes it or not? Shakespeare's script opens with the narrative concerning Flavius and Marullus. These two tribunes are testifying against Caesar to some citizens of Rome who are celebrating Caesar's glory. This scene not only lays down the main idea of conflict over Caesar (those who think he should live and those who think he should but gives a strong case against him forwarded by the pair of Flavius and Marullus. ...read more.

Middle

Calphurnia: "Alas my lord, Your wisdom is consumed in confidence. Do not go forth today" Caesar: Mark Antony shall say I am not well, And for thy humour I will stay at home." [Act 2; scene 2 lines 48-50/55-56] Proof of their close and relaxed relationship is shown by the fact Calphurnia can suggest her husband is overconfident. Although she does cover this liberty up with compliments ('your wisdom is consumed in confidence') this is a right no normal friend of Caesar's could have because we have already established Caesar as a proud man. She seems to know him surprisingly well. Quickly, Caesar relents and lets Calphurnia have her way. This submission is evidence of a break in Caesar's arrogance. However, this breach seems to extend solely to and for his wife for when a herald enters the scene Caesar's barriers are back up. When asked to explain why he cannot go to the senate that day Caesar answers: "The cause is in my will." [Act 2; scene 2 line 71] This defiance of reason shows Caesar's current power in the senate. He has strong faith that even his whim will satisfy the 'graybeards' in the senate. Caesar's relationship with Calphurnia is made less significant because of Brutus' with his wife; Portia. ...read more.

Conclusion

Caesar himself does neither strongly incriminate nor clear himself. The constant arrogance found in him can be countered with his gentle behaviour towards his wife but is backed up again by the examples found of his arrogance resurfacing afterwards. Caesar speaks strongly for his innocence when we hear (via Casca ironically) that the Senate offered him the crown thrice and he thrice renounced it. This might have been a ploy to subdue anger against him but I find this unlikely for many reasons: 1. If he were really extremely arrogant than he would not have feared retribution from those who opposed him. 2. He had a lot of support and controlled the Senate - he could have easily dealt with serious opposition to his crowning. It must be said that Casca did mention 'he was fain to have it' so this tact by Caesar may have been a ploy. Caesar never wholly incriminates himself and the arguments put against him are not justified on anything above suppositions. Antony who knew him best kept loyal and the ambition he had may not have come from Caesar. Killing Caesar on suppositions is wrong according to judicial law today and morals should come into the debate. Caesar is innocent according to the poor prosecution as opposed to a strong defence. Cassius is so ridden with guilt during the consequent civil war that Brutus is needed to keep him from suicide. Nicolas Long English Coursework ...read more.

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