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Many authors try to convey different lessons that we, as individuals or a society can learn from their writings. William Shakespeare, in his play Julius Caesar, has definitely accomplished this goal. With the many lessons included in this story, society can learn from the mistakes of others made previously. It could be said that the actions of society are learned by the actions of our predecessors. In this incredible play, the major messages or societal lessons include mob mentality, respect, and wealth and power are the roots of all evil.
Shakespeare realized that people behave differently in mobs. One individual can sway the opinions of everyone present by convincing just one person in the group. This is called mob mentality. In Act III, Scene II, Brutus speaks to the masses and explains why Caesar had to be slain for the good of Rome. Then, Brutus leaves and Antony speaks to the citizens. A far better judge of human nature than Brutus, Antony cleverly manages to turn the crowd against the conspirators by telling them of Caesar's good works and his concern for the people. Another hideous act of the mob was the killing of Cinna the poet. They realize that he is the wrong Cinna, but they are so enraged, they slay him anyway.
Although revenge is a major concept in this play, respect is another important theme.
After Brutus kills himself, Antony says "This was the noblest Roman of them all: all the conspirators save only he did what they did in envy of great Caesar; he only in a general honest thought and common good to all, made one of them." This quote means that Antony regarded Brutus as an honorable man, despite the fact that he killed Caesar.
Antony also understood that Brutus killed Caesar for the good of Rome and not because of jealousy or hatred. Octavious then comments ".with all respect and rites of burial.
Within my tent his bones to-night shall lie, most like a soldier, order'd honourably." The men wish for his body to lie in their tent for the night, and then they will give him proper burial rites.
One last lesson in this tragedy is wealth and powers are the roots of all evil. This statement applies mainly to Caesar himself, but can also be stretched to custom fit the conspirators. Caesar is a high and mighty man who appeals to all the common people of Rome, but Brutus and his men feel that his power has become too great.
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Societal lessons are present throughout Shakespeare's many works. Shakespeare observed how human nature could affect the decisions of other people, such as with Antony and the crowd of hostile plebeians. History tends to repeat itself, and many people who would make the same mistakes as the characters in Julius Caesar can learn from these important lessons. The tragedy of Julius Caesar was definitely an excellent topic for a play due to many lessons that we as a society can learn from it.