Character Sketch: Julius Caesar Essay, Research Paper
Julius Caesar was a tragedy written by William Shakespeare. Julius Caesar was a great Roman general and senator born in 100 B.C. He has a wife named Calphurnia but no children. Though he was an illustrious leader, Caesar was a physically weak man; he suffered from epilepsy and was deaf in one ear. In the beginning of the play, Caesar was returning to Rome in triumph after a successful military campaign against Pompey’s sons. Caesar formed the first triumvirate with Crassus and Pompey. After the death of Crassus and Caesar’s defeat of Pompey, Caesar gained autocrat power. A group of conspirators led by Brutus assassinated him and Cassius, who worried that Caesar, might aspire to become a dictator over the Roman republic. Julius Caesar was an arrogant and egocentric man who is also a fatalist.
Caesar was an arrogant man who saw himself as being the strongest and the most powerful man in Rome. When his wife Calphurnia tried to stop Caesar from going to the Capitol for fear of his life was in danger, Caesar said that he has no need to be afraid for he was even more formidable than danger itself. ??Danger knows full well that Caesar is more dangerous than he.” (2, 2, 44-45) This showed the great confidence he had in himself and his certitude that no one would dare to harm him. Caesar took immense pride in his conquests and believed that it would be shameful for him to lie to the senators about the reason of his absence from the Capitol on the ides of March. ??Have I in conquest stretch’d mine arm so far to be afeared to tell greybeards the truth?” (2, 2, 66-67) His confidence that a simple ??Caesar will not come” would be sufficient a reason for the senators were another sign of the high esteem he held of himself.
Caesar was also rather egocentric and he is susceptible to having his decisions swayed through praises and flattery rained upon Caesar by the people around him. When Decius first arrived at Caesar’s house to escort him to the Senate House, Caesar told Decius that he was not going. When Decius asked for an explanation he could give to the senators as to why Caesar was not going, Caesar said, ??The cause is my will: I will not come; that is enough to satisfy the senate.” (2, 2, 71-72) Caesar’s answer was very sure and firm; he viewed himself as being so highly regarded by the people of Rome that his simple will was an explanation sufficient to satisfy the senate’s queries. However, although he views his will as being the strongest in Rome, his decisions were easily influenced by the sycophancy of the people that attempt to manipulate Caesar to go along with their plans. Decius convinced Caesar to change is mind about not going to Capitol on the ides of March by doing exactly as such.
“to give this day a crown to mighty Caesar. If you shall send them word you will not come, their minds may change. Besides, it were a mock. Apt to be render’d?K’Break up the senate till another time, When Caesar’s wife shall meet with better dreams. ‘If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper ‘Lo, Caesar is afraid’?” (2, 2, 92-101)
Decius started by first praising Caesar of his greatness and then giving reasons as to how the decision of not showing up at the Senate House would be an unwise judgment. Caesar could not bear people to think that he, the mighty Caesar was such a coward that he dare not go to Capitol simply because his wife had nightmares about his death. Decius also used Caesar’s ambition for the crown and pride in him as a ploy to manipulate Caesar in to going to the Capitol. Caesar quickly accepted Decius’ reasons with pleasure and decided to go to the Capitol once again. This rapid alternating in his decisions clearly showed how easily Caesar was persuaded by the flattery of others.
Another trait of Caesar was that he was fatalistic. He was not superstitious; for he dismissed the warning, the soothsayer said to him ??Beware the ides of March” (1, 2, 18) as being words said by a dreamer and not worth pondering over. Caesar refused to believe the numerous omens that have been occurring in Rome and termed them as simply being general signs that would affect everyone and not just him, though the people beside him are trying to convince him not to go to the Capitol on the ides of March for fear that something ill might befall upon Caesar. Though Caesar was not superstitious, he was however, a fatalistic man that believed that a man’s fate was destined and cannot be changed. Calphurnia tried to convince him not to go to the Capitol because she had dreamed of his statue sprouting blood and the people of Rome were bathing their hands in the blood with smiles on their faces. Calphurnia was rather distressed about this and hoped to stop Caesar from walking right into what she saw as death’s coldly beckoning hands. Caesar was not overly concerned about it though for he believed that if he was meant to die, nothing could prevent it. ??What can be avoided whose end is purpos’d by the mighty gods?” He said that the time one dies is preordained by the gods and when that time arrives, the person would die no matter how they try to avoid it.
The conspirators that assassinated Caesar had done so because they believed that Caesar had the ambition to become king of Rome, and Caesar’s behavior partly substantiated such a judgment: he did in fact vie for absolute power over Rome, although he refused the crown that was offered to him. Caesar reveled in the homage he received from others and in his conception of himself as a dignitary that will live on forever in men’s minds. Yet, his faith in his own permanence in both his loyalty to principles as well as his fixture as a public institution eventually proved to be his undoing. Caesar was one the audience would not want as a friend for he was too arrogant for most people to get along with.