Julius Caesar: A Dead Man’s Party Essay, Research Paper
A Dead Man?s Party
In Shakespeare?s Julius Caesar, the character of Caesar remains a
active force throughout the play, even after his assassination. Caesar is
such a strong presence that even after he is killed, his spirit will not rest
until he is revenged.
It is ironic in that Brutus wished to ?come by Caesar?s spirit, And
not dismember Caesar?. Caesar?s body was killed, but in doing so, his
?spirit? was unleashed, which causes more disaster than a living Caesar
ever would have. Antony is the first to call up the spirit of Caesar in his
soliloquy in the Capitol building, over Caesar?s body. ?…And Caesar?s
spirit, ranging for revenge, with Ate by his side come hot from hell…That
this foul deed shall smell above the earth with carrion men, groaning for
burial.? Antony prophesizes that until the spirit of Caesar is avenged,
bloodshed and evil shall reign over the land. Antony again invokes
Caesar?s spirit in his speech to the citizens of Rome, using it to ferment
them into an angry mob. The mob is so frenzied in their bloodlust, they
prove Antony?s earlier prophesy by killing Cinna, a poet because he has
the same name as one of the conspirators.
The visible ?spirit? of Caesar appears to Brutus as a ghost at Saris
and at Philipi, showing us that Brutus has not yet validated to himself
his part in the assassination of Caesar, even though he never verbally
regrets killing Caesar. The appearance of Caesar?s ghost also signals
that Brutus?s and Cassius?s luck is running out.
Caesar?s spirit only rests with the suicides of Brutus and Cassius,
both acknowledge that they do so to ?still? Caesar?s spirit. Cassius
notices the irony in his death, ?Caesar, thou art revenged, even with the
sword that killed thee.?, and Brutus, noble to the last, states his love for
Caesar, ?Caesar, now be still; I killed not thee with half so good a will?
Caesar, like many of those with strong presence?s, had an
influence over many, even when not present, especially when that
influence is invoked and used effectively on a population, as Antony did.
A bit of Caesar?s spirit could be said to live on today, in the influences he
had on society.