Essay on Julius Caesar: Superstition, Sacrifice, Suffering and Sorrow

Essay on Julius Caesar: Superstition, Sacrifice, Suffering and Sorrow

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Superstition is considered a myth to most people, but for the ancient Romans, this was a historical belief. For the Romans, believing in superstition was a very ordinary thing. To them superstition explained the supernatural and strengthened their relationships with the gods (The Roman Empire). In the play Julius Caesar, the author William Shakespeare uses superstition repeatedly to affect the plot as well as the characters. Superstition in the play is used to foreshadow Caesar’s death, impact Brutus’ actions in the battlefield and to emphasize the Roman’s connection to superstition and fate.
One of the biggest superstitious beliefs in Rome at that time was the power to see the future; which Caesar’s future was to die. Julius Caesar was one of Rome’s greatest leaders and even he could not escape the superstitions of his death. Many signs of superstition were shown such as the appearance of the soothsayer, who is a person with the ability to see the future. When the soothsayer came up to Caesar he said, “Beware the ides of March” (1.2.28); and by the ides of March, the soothsayer means a day in the Roman calendar that marks the 15th of March. The effect of this quote was to foreshadow the death of Caesar through the superstitious act of seeing the future. Caesar’s death was also foreshadowed in Calphurnia’s dream where she saw the conspirators bathe their hands in Caesar’s blood (2.2.80-84). The Romans at that time widely believed in ghosts, so Calphurnia seeing ghosts in her dream coming out of their graves was also superstition. Not only was it superstition, but it was also a bad omen and a sign that something bad was going to occur. The lioness roaming the street and everything else Calphurnia dreamt about was superstition that...


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...in sorrow because of superstition and suffered painful deaths for both ignoring and accepting it. William Shakespeare was a great author and writer and hopefully we can continue to learn from his writing for years to come; because that is every school student’s undeniable fate.

Word Count: 1238 words



Works Cited
Alchin, Linda. "Elizabethan Theatre." ELIZABETHAN THEATRE. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.
Crowther, John, ed. “No Fear Julius Caesar.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2005. Web. 5 Mar. 2014.
"LitCharts | Julius Caesar: Act 1, Scene 2 Summary, Analysis & Themes." LitCharts | Julius Caesar: Act 1, Scene 2 Summary, Analysis & Themes. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.
Shakespeare, William, Barbara A. Mowat, and Paul Werstine. The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. New York: Washington Square, 1992. Print.
"The Roman Empire." The Roman Empire. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

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