Julius Caesar

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William Shakespeare lived from 1564 to 1616. During his time, he wrote and established many plays. Although he lived about 400 years ago, his themes still have proven their universality today. A good example of this is in the play, Julius Caesar. One of the themes in this play is that there are many methods of manipulation, that persuade and influence people into a certain direction, sometimes too quickly, without thought.

Shakespeare distorts the views of people to show that commoners or plebeians in the play, tend to change their minds without thought or consideration. An example of that occurs in the play within the beginning on a street in Rome. The Romans are gathered to celebrate two events, the religious festival of Lupercal and the recent victory of Julius Caesar. “We make a holiday to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph,” says a cobbler, whom like most commoners had once supported Pompey. The commoners have since changed their views toward Caesar, now that he holds the power. Another example occurs later in the play. Brutus has just convinced the commoners that what the conspirators did was only out of their love for Rome. One commoner says, “we are blest that Rome is rid of him,” referring to Caesar which statement is supported by the rest of the crowd. Once again, the hearts of the commoners quickly changes again once Antony gives his speech. After he finishes, the commoners run through the streets noting and searching to kill the once glorified conspirators. This still applies today. For example; Bill Clinton was a fairly respected and admired president, until the world discovered about his mistress. Because of this, voters and people in office have changed their views so quickly, we have lost sight that, disregarding his personal affairs, Clinton has actually been a good president.

Shakespeare shows that the commoners change their minds too quickly, he also shows that methods of manipulation, such as ridicule, can change the views of people. Ridicule is used to persuade Casca to join the conspiracy, Cassius says, “so vile a thing as Caesar! But O grief, where hast thou led me? I perhaps speak this before a willing Bondman!” Considering that Casca doesn’t like the idea of being a subject to Caesar, he immediately becomes offended and joins the conspiracy. Another example is the first scene of the play. Marullus says to the commoners whom no longer worship Pompey, “You blocks of stones, you worse than senseless things!” to try and influence them to stay loyal to the great Pompey.

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