Blood Revenge In Julius Caesar Essay, Research Paper
Et tu Brute? Caesar sputtered before falling into the darkness known as death. But this was not the end of Caesar however. Caesar returns to this world as a shade or ghost form. In fact, in this form he exerts more influence over Brutus than he ever did in mortal form. Caesar is more powerful in his spirit for to affect Brutus than in his mortal form. It is in this ghost form, Caesar full-fills his revenge on Brutus. (netessays.net) Revenge did not occur in the ancient world only in plays and stories. Revenge was a way of life, an every day belief of the ancient times.
In ancient times, the times of the Greeks and Romans to be precise, the inhabitants believed that death was most certainly not the end. As a matter of fact, many of these people built entire religions around the prospect of life after death, such as the Greeks and the Romans. A strong belief of the Greeks was that the ghost or shade was so extremely powerful that many a time the murderer would mutilate his victim to flee the dead man s direct revenge. (B-Revenge)
Another strong belief in the idea of blood-revenge centered around native gods. The people of the time believed that the gods played an important role in blood-revenge, especially if one of their laws were defied. In the Odyssey, Zeus and Athena intervene on Odysseus behalf when Odysseus wishes to destroy the suitors that had plagued his palace for a number of years. Zeus intervenes after his sacred policy, his policy of hospitality, was violated and for that the suitors were punished. In Julius Caesar, there is no evidence of any specific gods interfering, such as dialogue or actions, but there are many supernatural occurrences. These omens show that something supernatural, be it a god or fate, knows what is going to occur in the near future. Therefore, the omens show evidence of god-like activity foreshadowing, either warning or maybe even sponsoring, the revenge.
For every sin committed there is an unavoidable consequence, as is the case when the conspirators try to harness the future. Even though Brutus actions are noble, no one can ever hope to control history, those who try suffer a terrible fate. Caesar, Brutus, and Cassius are all guilty of arrogance in believing they can control history; as a consequence, Caesar precipitates his own death and the other two merit the retribution that overtakes them. (Shks Crit V7 pg 142) For the crime of trying to harness that of which by nature is uncontrollable, these men are punished.
Another important aspect of blood-revenge was the belief of extreme loyalty to the departed. If a relative was murdered then the victim s family s job was to enact revenge on the perpetrator. If (or when) the perpetrator is killed, then it was the duty of THAT victim s relatives to avenge HIS death. Thus the cycle of blood-revenge was never ending until one family is ultimately destroyed. This loyalty to the dead shows the power that the deceased was believed to have. The dead man led an attenuated life, but remained a powerful being, able to do harm, and he preserved the rights over his relatives and allies, he was entitled to force them to discharge their duties. (Blood Ven. And Family)
This undying loyalty is best expressed by Caesar s friend and colleague, Antony. Blood Vengeance was an absolute duty, an unconditional claim on the part of the dead. (B-Vengeance) Antony believed this aspect of blood-revenge so full hearted that he even waged a war for Caesar s behalf. He waged this war so that the conspirators may finally be defeated and so his duty to Caesar may finally be full filled.
This loyalty to the dead drove Cassius to commit revenge, as it did many others throughout literary history. In the Odyssey, Poseidon avenges his sons (Polyphemus) death by making Odysseus return home next to impossible. In Hamlet, Hamlet avenges his father s death by killing his father s murderer, his uncle. In today s modern world, the idea of revenge is generally frowned upon, but in the world of the Greeks and Romans revenge was not just a custom, but a way of life.