Julius Caesar: Foreshadowing

Category: Irony, Julius Caesar
Last Updated: 20 Apr 2022
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If Caesar had been more astute and willing to accept his own vulnerability, he might have recognized warnings around him which foreshadowed his assassination. One of the warnings, which was very important, was Artemidorus’ letter which contained names of all conspirators. This takes place in Act III scene i lines 5-10. Caesar ignored this warning by refusing to read Artemidorus’ letter, because he wanted to read it last, as he says “What touches us ourself shall be last serv’d. The second warning that he ignored was Calphurnia’s (his wife’s) dream about Caesar’s blood upon the Capitol (Act II scene ii). After he received this warning, at first he decided not to go, but then Decius came and changed his mind by interpreting the dream such a way that seems to be good. Decius said those bloods and all mean that great Rome regards you as its lifeblood. Therefore, Caesar changed his mind and decided to go to the Senate House. As you see the warnings were all around Caesar and he just had to listen to others.

The last warning that I found in the play were fortune-tellers. Before Caesar goes to Senate House, he asked soothsayers and fortune-tellers about it, and they advised him not to go out on that day (Act II scene ii). This is what they said: “Opening up the innards of a sacrifice, they couldn’t find a heart inside the beast. ” From these warnings, and assassination of Caesar, we conclude that Caesar was proud of himself, believing himself as eternal as the North Star. Through the play, we find out that he is unable to separate his public image from his private image, which lead to his death.

Also, He ignores all warnings and threats against his life, because of his ambition and seduction by the people’s increasing idealization and idolization of his image. Brutus was one of the most complex characters in this story, and his strong idealism is both his greatest advantage and his most deadly disadvantage. While Brutus lives up to Antony’s description of him as “the noblest of Romans”, his narrow vision leads him to make certain mistakes: wanting to reduce violence, he ignores Cassius’s suggestion they should kill Antony as well as Caesar.

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In another moment of idealism, he again ignores Cassius’s advice and allows Antony to speak at Caesar’s funeral over Caesar’s body. As a result of this action, Antony incites people to riot against him and the other conspirators. Some other bad examples of his weakness in idealism can be seen when Brutus endangers his good relationship with Cassius. In all of these, Brutus acts out of a desire to limit the self-serving aspects of his actions. Although, when looking at it ironically, we see that in each incident, he kills the cause that he wants to promote and get to.

In other parts of the play we that Brutus only agrees to kill Caesar after becoming convinced by his dear friend, Cassius, that it is necessary for the Roman Republic. This shows that Brutus is an idealist who upholds honor above everything else. As I said earlier, Brutus is a very complex character, because he is a powerful public figure, and at the same time, a husband, a good master to his servants, a dignified military leader, and a loving friend. For example, he respects his servants and therefore his servants are very good to him and respect him very much.

Also, he loves his wife, Portia, very much, that in Act II scene i we find out they have a very close connection with each other. It is important to note that he is a stoic person, because he suffers pain from his wife’s death but doesn’t show it much throughout the play. Although, at the end of play, he doesn’t act much stoic, because he commits suicide once he believes defeat in the battle. This shows that he was not able to suffer to be taken to the city as a captive and slave, and someone who’s in chains.

I believe that Brutus is this play’s tragic hero. He is a good and admirable character in the play, but because of his wrong decisions and mistakes, his actions go wrong and do not satisfy the cause; in other words, he does something almost opposite that bring about a downfall. In this play, Brutus overrules all the advices that Cassius, the great thinker of conspirators, makes, and it results tragic for conspirators. First, Cassius’ advice to kill Mark Antony as well as Caesar is ignored leading to Mark Antony becoming their greatest enemy.

Later at Caesar’s funeral, Cassius’ advice that Mark Antony should not speak is also ignored leading to Antony turning people against them (conspirators). Finally, in Act V, Brutus ignores Cassius’ advice to stay on high ground, leading to a battle in the plains of Philippi. Therefore, because of mistakes that Brutus makes, and his faults, he is considered to be the tragic hero of the play. As we find out through the play, superstition is an important part of it and a significant factor in Roman life. Characters in play all believe in omens and portents, and how your fate is de ermined by certain stars. Although there are few characters who don’t believe in soothsayers and what they say and predict. For example, Cassius says, “the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars. But in ourselves, that we are underlings. ” This shows that he doesn’t agree with the belief that some people have that says the star or planet under which you were born determines your characteristics and fate. In other cases, we have Caesar telling Antony to touch Calphurnia when running, and asking Calphurnia to stand in Antony’s way, so that through his touch she may shake off her “sterile curse”.

It was a superstition that young men ran almost naked in the streets carrying light leather thongs with which they’d touch women who present themselves along the street; and because of that touch, these women ensured their fertility and an easy labor and delivery. Another superstitious event that occurred in the play was the interruption caused by soothsayer who wanted to tell Caesar “Beware the Ides of March. ” Generally “Ideas” means middle; therefore, Ides of March is 15th of March. Caesar heard him but he asked him to repeat himself.

After soothsayer repeated himself, Caesar decided that he is a dreamer, and disregarded him. This shows that even Caesar didn’t agree with beliefs that people of Rome had at that time. As it can be seen, superstition plays a role in the basic daily life of most Roman citizens; and many of them told fortune as their job. Overall, Shakespeare gives us the idea that many people try to find out about future and what it holds, such as unfortunate things, by being superstitious. For instance, Shakespeare starts Act I with a setting based upon superstition, and what goes on between soothsayers.

The element Irony is defined as the strange aspect of a situation that is very different from what you expect. Therefore, we see that there are many cases in which irony has been used and extent into the characterization of different characters in the play. Brutus’ irony was irony of situation; he was the person in charge of the assassination of Caesar. Although there were all the conspirators, Brutus was the one who did most of the job. Not to forget Cassius, he was the thinker of conspirators; therefore, he was the main head of group.

Although Cassius’ advices would have lead to good endings, but every time Brutus changed them and overruled them; therefore, as an irony, we didn’t thought things would go differently, the way they did. Ironically, though, we can say that Brutus assassinated his friend, Caesar, to prevent one man ruling the Roman Empire. Although, this went wrong, and Octavius, one of the Triumvirs who defeated Brutus and Cassius, was later to become a Roman Emperor ruling the entire Rome alone after his victory over Mark Antony. We also find that out because he (Octavius) is the last person who finished the play (Act V).

Overall, we can conclude that irony was extent into Brutus’ character very much. In Cassius’ case, his character didn’t include much irony extent into it. He was a good thinker, and he had wise advices which were not followed correctly all the time. Therefore, things that happened after his advice was overruled are not considered to be his irony. In Julius Caesar, we have different types of Irony. The one used the most is dramatic irony, meaning the audience is aware of the character's mistakes or misunderstandings but the character is not.

For example, Caesar's ambition, and his popularity increasing, caused the conspirators to fear that he would take over. We, as the reader, can see Caesar’s flaws although he does not. This ironic characteristic that we see shows us how Caesar's flaws lead to his death. Julius Caesar ignored the signs and kept going in his ambitious quest to gain power; therefore, he had a lot of irony extent into his characterization. Other than dramatic irony, we have another irony called verbal irony. Verbal irony is when the writer says one thing and means another.

In the play, Antony's speech in Caesar's funeral to the people who loved Brutus presents irony. Antony repeatedly kept saying "Brutus is an honorable man... ", or “Brutus is a noble man”, throughout his speech. This quote shows the irony because Antony did not mean what he was saying. His purpose was to force the people into seeing what Brutus has done without actually saying "Brutus assassinated your leader, Caesar”. What Antony did was very clever, and from that we conclude that irony has extent into his characterization very much. Finally, from all this we can conclude that Shakespeare has done an excellent job!

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Julius Caesar: Foreshadowing. (2018, Jan 07). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/julius-caesar-147534/

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