Themes of Superstition, Manipulation and Honor in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

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Themes of Superstition, Manipulation and Honor in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare In William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, many themes develop through the course of the play. Superstition, manipulation, and honor are all themes woven throughout the play to aid in the development of characters and plot. Combined, these themes intertwine to advance the action within the play. Above all, superstition plays the lead role as a theme in the play Julius Caesar. Superstition actually occurs twice in the play starting with Calpurnia's dream. She dreams that Caesar is made a statue with blood pouring out. The villagers are cleansing their hands and bathing in Caesar's blood. When Calpurnia awakens, she begs Caesar not to leave the house. She exclaims: Alas, my lord, Your wisdom is consumed in confidence. Do not go forth today. Call it my fear That keeps you in the house, and not your own. Act Two. Scene Two. L. 48-51 Calpurnia is quite upset because of the horrible nightmare she encounters. She becomes very superstitious and begs Caesar to stay home because she is so frightened. Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies, Yet now they fright me. Act Two. Scene Two. L.10-11 The second instance where superstition occurs is when the crows are spotted flying overhead on Brutus and the conspirators' way to the Battle. The crows flying over their heads is an omen and for tells that something bad is to come. This morning are they fled away and gone, And in their steads do ravens, crows, and kites Fly o'er our heads and downward look on us. As we were sickly prey. Their shadows seem A canopy most fatal, under which Our army lies, ready to give up the ghost. Act Five. Scene One. L. 84-89 The Romans lived their lives by superstition. This event serves as a prelude to the vulture's death. Superstition, a major motif in the play, is used to foreshadow certain events. It is important to note that manipulation is also another key theme in the play. Brutus is skeptical about murdering Caesar but is convinced by Cassius and the other conspirators to help them complete the mission. Cassius way of manipulating Brutus is flattery! Brutus, and Caesar. What should be in that Caesar? Why should that name be sounded more than yours Write them together, yours is as fair a name. Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well. Weigh them, it is as heavy. Conjure with 'em, Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar.

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