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Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

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Julius Caesar

In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Caesar’s hubris influences and overconfident attitude lead to his own assassination. Brutus, Cassius, and some others make a plan to assassinate Caesar. Although he is given many warning signs, they convince him to come to the capital, where the group is waiting to murder him. Caesar believes he is so well liked, he would never consider the many warning signs presented to him to prevent his own death.

Throughout the play there are warning signs Caesar encounters which he chooses to ignore or brush off. On several occasions, a soothsayer approaches Caesar and says, “Beware the Ides of March” (1.2.21). Caesar’s reaction is to ignore the soothsayer and calls him a “dreamer” (1.2.29). The weather was another sign presented to Caesar to indicate something bad was may be happening. The night the assassination of Caesar was to take place, a bad storm hit. Casca tells Caesar, “Are not you moved, when all the sway of earth/ shakes like a thing unfirm?” (1.3.3-4). Caesar ignored more than just these supernatural signs.

On his way to the capital, Caesar encounters Artemidorus, a teacher, who offers Caesar a letter. The letter contains information of the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar which Artemidorus tries to explain to Caesar. Artemidorus sounds urgent when he says, “Delay not, Caesar; read it instantly” (3.1.9). However, Caesar refuses to read the letter because he feels he is above everyone else and any information pertaining to him should be saved for last. Caesar states, “What touches us ourself shall be last served” (3.1.8).

On the day of the assassination, Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia, begs and pleads with Caesar to not leave their house. Calpurnia, who previously did not believe in bad omens, had a dream where she believes is a warning of danger and harm to come to Caesar. She tells Caesar:

Alas, my lord,

Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.

Do not go forth to-day: call it my fear

That keeps you in the house, and not your own. (2.2.54-57)

Caesar agrees to listen to Calpurnia and decides to stay in. Word of this reaches the conspirator's who react by sending Decius Brutus to convince Caesar to come to the capital. Decius Brutus knows Caesar is arrogant and can easily be convinced he would be a coward for staying home. He knows Caesar will not let his pride get in the way of coming to the capital and justifies Calpurnia’s dream by interpreting it to mean Rome will be revived with Caesar as the ruler. He strengthens his argument by informing Caesar the Senate planned to give the crown to him on that day. Caesar then says, “How foolish do your fears seem now, Calpurnia!/ I am ashamed I did yield to them” (2.2.105-106).

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