Julius Caesar Essay Research Paper When the

Julius Caesar Essay, Research Paper

When the play first begin Julius Caesar, the man himself is entering Rome, returning from battle. He has defeated Pompey, and the crowd is happy. However, not all citizens are happy. Already there is conspiracy being planned. Marullus and Flavius make fun of the commoners, because did they not cheer for Pompey the same way that they cheer Caesar. Marullus angrily yells:

“O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome, Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft Have you climb’d up to walls and battlements, To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops, Your infants in your arms, and there have sat the livelong day, with patient expectation, To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome… And do you now strew flowers in his way, That comes in triumph over Pompey’s blood? Be gone!” (I: i)

Pompey’s defeat is crucial to Caesar’s rise to power. Many men volunteered to fight, unpaid, under the general Caesar. There was not a single deserter during the Civil War. Julius destroyed the few episodes of insubordination. He was a firm, yet fair leader. His troops were never addressed as “My soldiers”, but as “Comrades”. His attitude was much different then Pompey’s. “Whereas Pompey declared that all who were not actively with the government were against it and would be treated as public enemies, Caesar announced that all who were not actively against him were with him.” (Suetonius, pg. 45) Caesar was favored among his men, but this favor was soon lost entirely. The senate soon awarded Ceasar with many awards. Julius Caesar did not rise to greet them. the senate considered this an act of arrogance. The Senators began to feel the beginnings of a murderous hatred for Caesar. This feeling was increased by another incident. Upon returning from the Alban Hill, a member of the crowd placed a wreath of laurels and white fillet upon the statue of Caesar. Epidius Marullus and Caesetius Flavius demanded that the wreath be removed. Caesar dispatched these tribunes, who we met quickly in Julius Caesar, instantly. It is not known why this was done. One reason might have been that Caesar was angry that the thought of his becoming king was such an easily dismissable one. Another reason may be that ceaser was mad that he was not given the chance to demand the removal of the laurels himself. Either way, the main thought was that he had tried to bring back the crown. The tide was now almost fully against him, though the next event would certainly turn it completely. When addressing the populous at the Rostra during the Lupercalian Festival, Marc Antony tried several times to offer the crown to Caesar, and was several times denied, but Caesar then sent the crown to the Capitol to be dedicated. Shakespeare also tells of this, though in a different manner. He failed to tell you about those who were paid to cheer or hiss at specified signals. In Plutarch’s version of this event, he states that at each offering of the crown, a very small group of people cheered loudly, and at each declination of the crown, the rest of the population cheered. Shakespeare only mentions the cheering of the declinations. Though Caesar never accepted the title of king, he acted as one. This frightened the republican Senators greatly. Plans of assassination began to grow with a force more strong that before. Small groups of two or three conspirators now joined together. This phrase was written on Old Brutus’ statue: “If only you were alive today!” The general populous voiced their unhappiness loudly. They sang this popular song frequently: “Caesar led the Gauls in triumph, Led them uphill, led them down, To the Senate House he took them, Once the glory of our town. ‘Pull those breeches off’ he shouted, ‘Change into a purple gown!’”(Suetonius, pg. 53) Over sixty men were actively conspiring against Caesar. They established two plots that were considered seriously until Caesar called for a Senate meeting at the Pompeian Assembly Room on the Ides of March. This, they decided. Would be the time and place. Caesar did have fair warning of this. Shakespeare tells us of horrible thunderstorms, lions parading the streets, corpses rising from their graves and of people walking in flames. Suetonius tells of other signs of doom. Capuan tombs were being torn down to get building bricks. One of these tombs was that of the town’s founder, Capys. A tablet on his desecrated resting place read: “Disturb the bones of Capys, and a man of Trojan stock will be murdered by his kindred, and later avenged at great cost to Italy.” The soothsayer Spurinnia gave Caesar the famous warning “Beware the ides of March”, to which Caesar paid no mind. Calpurnia, his wife, was stricken with dreadful nightmares the night of March 14th, and cried aloud in her sleep, “Help, ho! They murder Caesar!” (II: iii) Still Caesar, after some careful thought and nagging by Decimus Brutus, went to the Assembly Room. He set forth at 10 o’clock. On his way to the House, he was handed a note that outlined the plot against him. Caesar did not read it, but placed it in a pile of documents that he planned to read later. He saw the prophet Spurinnia, and said, “The Ides of March have come,” to which she replied “Yes, they have come, but they have not yet gone.” As soon as Caesar took his seat the conspirators crowded around him as if to pay their respects. Tillius Cimber, who had taken the lead, came up close, pretending to ask a question. Caesar made a gesture of postponement, but Cimber caught hold of his shoulders. “This is violence!” Caesar cried, and at that moment, as he turned away, one of the Casca brothers with a sweep of his dagger stabbed him just below the throat. Caesar grabbed Casca’s arm and pushed it away with his stylus????; he was leaping away when another dagger blow stopped him. Faced by a circle of daggers, he pulled the top of his robe down over his face, and at the same time dropped the lower part, letting it fall to the ground so that he would die with both legs covered. He was stabbed 23 times. Caesar did not make a single noise after Casca’s stab had made him groan, though it is said that when he saw Marcus Brutus about to deliver the second stab, he said to him in Greek with: “You too, my child?’” (Suet. Pg. 51) Shakespeare’s version of this begins with a citizen, Artemidorus, reading a note warning Caesar of the conspirators. Here he tries to deliver it. “Art. Hail, Caesar! Read this schedule. Dec. Trebonius doth desire you to o’re-read, At your best leisure, this his humble suit. Art. O Caesar! Read mine first; for mine’s a suit That touches Caesar nearer. Read it, great Caesar. Caes. What touches us ourself shall be last served.” (III: i) The way Shakespeare kills Caesar is also kind of different from the history. First, Cinna begins to ask a question of Caesar. Then the Senators rush in, and stab him. Caesar says his famous line, “Et tu, Brute! Then fall, Caesar!’” (III: i)



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