Julius Caesar- A Shakespearean treatise on Political Treachery


William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is widely complimented as one of the greatest dramatists and poets the world has ever seen. It is not an exaggeration to say that his books are second only to Bible in print and popularity. Hundreds of editions of his plays have been published, including translations in all major languages. Scholars have written thousands of books and articles about his plots, characters, themes and language. Undoubtedly, he is the most widely quoted author in history, and his plays have probably been performed more times than those of any other writer.

Julius Caesar is the story of a man’s personal dilemma over moral action, set against a backdrop of strained political drama. Julius Caesar, an able general and a conqueror returns to Rome amidst immense popularity after defeating the sons of Pompey. The people celebrate his victorious return and Mark Antony offers him the Crown which he refuses. Jealous of Caesar’s growing power and afraid he may one day become a dictator, Cassius instigates a conspiracy to murder Caesar. He Realizes that to gain legitimacy in the eyes of the Romans, he must win over the noble Brutus to his side for Brutus is the most trusted and respected in Rome. Brutus, the idealist, joins the conspiracy feeling that everyone is driven by motives as honourable as his own. Ironically, Caesar is murdered at the foot of Pompey’s Statue.

Characters in the play

  1. Julius Caesar- The greatest and most powerful of the Romans.
  2. Calpurnia- Caesar’s wife
  3. Mark Antony- Caesar’s most loyal friend.
  4. Marcus Brutus- Caesar’s great friend who joins the conspiracy because of his great love for Rome and for democracy.
  5. Cassius- inspirer and organizer of the conspiracy
  6. Decius Brutus- Co- conspirator in Caesar’s assassination

CBSE students area allotted with ACT II Scene II  and  Act III Scene I for the course of English Communicative. Scene II of Act II, starts with some scary signs of nature such as thunder and lightening as Caesar’s soliloquy said, ‘ Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace to-night, thrice has Calpurnia in her sleep cried out ‘help, ho! they murder Caesar!. Here Caesar seems to be little bit superstitious and asks his servant to bid the priest do present sacrifice; and bring him their opinions of success.

Calpurnia enters and pleads Caesar not to go out that day. But Caesar boasts of his valour stating that ‘those things that threaten him would flee out of sight when they see his face. Calpurnia says that she is not superstitious and never payed attention to omens and forecasts so far. She adds that she is scared of only one thing- a dream she had. It recounted the ‘most horrid sights seen by the watch’. A lioness has whelped in the streets. The graves have ‘yawned’ and yielded up their dead. Warriors fought upon the clouds. The capitols was drizzled with water. The noise of battle clashed in the air. Horses neighed and dying men groaned. And ghosts shrieked and squealed about in the streets. All these are unnatural; and she fears only them. Caesar replies that nobody can avoid the end proposed by mighty god and these predictions are general and not to Caesar in particular.

Capurnia says again that when beggars die, there are no comets seen but when princes die, heavens themselves blaze forth. Replying to that Ceasar said, ” Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant tastes death only once’. He adds that of all the wonders he has ever heard, the death seems to the most strange that men should fear because death is a necessary end. At that juncture, the servant enters and said what soothsayers. He added that they wouldn’t have Caesar to stir forth today as when they plucked the entrails of an offering they could not find a heart within the beast.

Ceasar says that gods do such things in shame of cowardice. Caesar should be a beast without a heart, if he should stay at home today for fear. Calpurnia pleads again to Caesar telling that his wisdom is consumed in confidence. She asks him to send Mark Antony, his friend to the senate house and let him say that Caesar is not well. Caesar doesn’t heed that also.

Decius Brutus enters and tells that

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