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

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How suitably is the theme of the supernatural depicted in the play ‘Julius Caesar’?

                     William Shakespeare was one of the most influential   playwrights, is known today for his plays such as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, A Midsummer Nights Dream and many other interesting and different plays.

               We in the 21st century enjoy Shakespeare’s plays for a variety of reasons. His plays have different themes like love, ambition, pride, friendship, supernatural, etc. His language is rich and full of imagery. Many of his famous quotes are used even till today such as "To be, or not to be" and "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?"-Romeo and Juliet, form some of literature's most celebrated lines. Other famous Shakespeare quotes such as "I 'll not budge an inch", "We have seen better days" ,"A dish fit for the gods" –Julius Caesar and the expression it's "Greek to me" have all become catch phrases in modern day speech. Furthermore, other William Shakespeare quotes such as "to thine own self be true" have become widely spoken pearls of wisdom.

"As he was valiant, I honor him; but, as he was ambitious, I slew him" . - (Act III, Scene II).

"Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more". - (Act III, Scene II).

"Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come". - (Act II, Scene II).

      Shakespeare was a brilliant man of the theatre; the medium of his theatre was language. It is his use of language that has made William Shakespeare one of the greatest figures in English Literature. The Elizabethan age was a period of enrichment and growth. One of the functions of Shakespeare’s poetry is to communicate to the audience in an imaginative manner. Through his vivid language he is able to create, the setting, portray the character and the emotional atmosphere of the scene. The Elizabethan audience believed deeply in the supernatural and superstition. They hungered for it. The use of unnatural events had a significant topical interest for the Elizabethan audience. The Elizabethans believed that the appearance of spirits was accompanied by a wind. It is also effective as a modern stage effect. In modern theatre, ghosts and supernatural occurrences are difficult to stage. The audiences of today are used to “realistic” theatre, such as Shakespeare’s ghost are produced on our stages with strange lightning effects, off-stage sounds. The Elizabethans had no such problem. They just accepted ghosts and witches as the case may be. This is how the supernatural would have had a lasting impression on them.

               Shakespeare’s development of style falls into quite a well-defined progression. At first he wrote plays according to the tradition of his rivals. He soon began experimenting with technique. His main concern was with tricks of language. He was finding out just what he could do. His use of language has made him the greatest figure in English, and perhaps in any literature. At the same time, he was lucky, because his career as a dramatist coincided with the Elizabethan age, which was a period of growth and enrichment of the language.  

             Shakespeare’s own language, his use of metaphor and imagery, was also rich and vibrant. His contributions in the form of words and phrases to the language are many. In Julius Caesar  we have phrases like ‘Greek to me’, ‘an itching palm’, ‘master spirits’, ‘a dish fit for the gods’, ‘masters of their fates’, and ‘the dogs of war’.


               Julius Caesar is a dramatic historical tragedy written by William Shakespeare. It is also a political play. In this play we see how Cassius, Brutus and the conspirators plot to kill Julius Caesar. The play has historical significance because the audience already know about Julius Caesar is a historical role.

               The theme of supernatural and superstition are important elements in the play.

       “Beware the Ides of March”(Act1Scene2), this is a warning by the soothsayer for Caesar warning him of the Ides of March. But Caesar dismisses the warning and leaves. “He is a dreamer”(Act1Scene2), this shows us the arrogance of Julius Caesar towards the soothsayer. Julius Caesar is the cause for his own death, he didn’t take this precaution because he was too over confident and this led to his downfall. He was ignorant of the fact, that the fortuneteller warns Caesar about his death and it is ignored. Casca reveals to Brutus that Caesar may be feeling to powerful and ambitious. The Soothsayer comes to Caesar again, “shriller than all the music”, “ Beware the ides of March” and he is ignored again.

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“Shake off their sterile curse”(Act1Scene2), Calpurnia has no children and so to take off the curse, Caesar gets superstitious and tells Marc Antony to touch Calpurnia to take away the “barren” curse. The supernatural is shown indirectly to the audience. Ceasar wants Calpurnia to come in Antony’s way and to be touched.

                 “Caesar, beware of Brutus; take heed of Cassius; come not near Casca; have an eye to Cinna; trust not Trebonius; mark well Metellus Cimber; Decius Brutus loves thee not: thou hast wronged Caius Ligaruis, there is but one mind ...

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