Julius Caesar Themes #2 Flashcard Example #89015

Heroes vs. Villains
In the story Julius Caesar, each character views themselves as noble and heroes. There is no defined character or group which fits the criteria of a villain or a Hero. Many people have the qualities of both.

1. Antony is seen as a hero because in Act III he is able to show true friendship and loyalty to Caesar because he stands up for him and tries to bring justice for Caesar by starting a civil war. Antony is also found as a villain in these acts because, while he says that Caesar had many things he wanted to give to the people, he decides to take the land and split it amongst himself and Octavius instead of giving it to the people.

2. Brutus is the tragic hero in Julius Caesar, his life is destroyed by his lack of knowledge of human reactions. He attempts to do the best for Rome, in this case killing Caesar, without thinking through every possibility. For example, Brutus made the decision to not kill Mark Antony reasoning this decision by stating he is nothing without Caesar. This has backfired and a civil war has begun with on team led by Antony himself.

3. The citizens in Julius Caesar also have both qualities of a hero and a villain. This is because throughout Act III they end up killing the conspirators guilty of killing Caesar to avenge him. However, they are also seen as villains because they decide to kill innocent people in the process, such as Cinna the poet although he did not partake in the killing of Caesar

Omens
In Julius Caesar, there are several omens denoting the inevitable loss of the Brutus-Cassius army against the army of Octavius and Mark-Antony.

1. Two majestic eagles, originally representing the Brutus-Cassius joint army, fled away from the battlegrounds and were replaced by vultures and crows. This shows that the two leaders, Cassius and Brutus, like the eagles, will fall. It also shows that the battlefield will be a slaughter and many men will die.

2. Additionally, Brutus is visited by the ghost of Caesar, telling him that Brutus will see him on the battlefield, giving the impression that Brutus will be killed in the battle. Without leadership in their army, Cassius and Brutus would easily fall.

3. Next, a letter telling Cassius to push forward is delivered at the wrong time, and the right front is completely smashed. If Brutus had waited slightly longer to send the orders, the army would have been much stronger. Still, after it is delivered, it is an omen that the Cassius-Brutus army will be crushed.

4. Cinna has a dream where he saw Caesar. In this dream, he does not want to leave his house, but something is leading him forward and out of his house. This foreshadows Cinna’s death which occurs right after he recalls his dream.

Identities, both Public and Private
In Julius Caesar, many of the characters act differently in public and privately so that no one will become suspicious of their actions and behavior.

1. Mark Antony acts differently to hide his plan of what they want to do with the Caesar’s will so that he will only have to split it between himself & Octavius even though Lepidus was supposed to be a part of their alliance.

2. Mark Antony acts as if he has forgiven the conspirators for killing Caesar and that they are friends, but inside he doesn’t feel this way for they have killed someone that he loved and deeply cared for.

3. Around his soldiers, Brutus is their leader and pretends to be unaffected when he learns that his wife had committed suicide, but when he speaks to Cassius he was heartbroken and very emotional.

Ambition and Conflict
In the novel Julius Caesar, the ambitions (a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work) of many people causes havoc and problems in Rome. This theme creates the major conflict in this story.

1. The first major ambitious act is to kill Caesar, and it is done in Act 3 when all the conspirators take turns stabbing Caesar and this causes the major conflict of the story. This causes a major conflict when Antony tries and persuades the people of Rome to attack and fight the conspirators. The people of Rome eventually kill and burn down most of the houses of the conspirators.

2. Cassius is ambitious for more money so he takes bribes from people and this leads to conflict between him and Brutus. This conflict is resolved in the same scene that the conflict is created.

3. Octavius and Antony want to get rid of all the conspirators, this led to a battle between the conspirators and Octavius and Antony. This conflict causes many deaths and eventually resolves when Octavius and Antony defeats the conspirator’s army.

Power of speech
In the story of, Julius Caesar power of speech is shown through many of the characters being manipulative and convincing the people with their words and the power of speech

1. In Act III Scene II, Brutus speaks to the citizens during Caesar’s funeral and for a brief moment convinces them that the killing of Caesar was justified. Shortly after, Antony speaks to the citizens about Caesar’s death and they are then convinced that Caesar was not as ambitious as Brutus had said he was and that Caesar did not have to die.

2. In Act V Scene IV, Lucilius tricks Antony’s army into thinking he is Brutus. Antony’s army captures him and delivers him to Antony thinking he is actually Brutus, even though he is not. Lucilius does this to prevent Antony’s army from capturing the real Brutus and killing him.

3. In Act V Scene V, Brutus convinces Strato to help kill him (Brutus) in order to deny the gratification of the opposing army. He convinces Strato to do so by telling him that he has been an honorable man and that since he is so respectful, he should assist Brutus with the task of killing him (Brutus).

Fate and Freewill
In Julius Caesar, many characters battle so-called “fate”, as well as facing issues concerning free will. For instance, multiple people struggle to remain in control over themselves and fight against circumstances. Additionally, several characters battle what they believe to be fate and pre-determined occurrences.

1. Although Caesar was told not to go to the capitol on the Ides of March, he decided to go anyway. When he arrives, Artemidorus told him to read his warning, but Caesar refused. This shows fate because Caesar is going to the capitol on the Ides of March and it shows free will because Caesar ignored his fate and decided to go anyway.

2. Brutus shows his belief in fate and destinies in Act IV Scene 3, when he explains that life is like a tide, and everyone must accept the flood and go where the current takes them in order to secure good fortune. This is a clear cut statement from Brutus, displaying his personal philosophy that men have no control over their lives, and that they must follow things through the way they are supposed to pan out, or else bring upon themselves misfortune.

3. In Act V Scene 1, Brutus says goodbye to Cassius, stating that he does not know whether he and Cassius will meet again. This shows Brutus’ belief that there is no predetermination, or if there is, then men have no knowledge of it. This might also mean that Brutus believes in carving one’s own path, not knowing where it will lead.

Friendship
In Julius Caesar, many of the characters have only formed a connection because of the common goal they have of taking down Caesar. Throughout the story, there are many fake friendships as when some characters lay their trust in the wrong hands of others. Others have manipulative friendships that are just for the benefit of getting them on their side for what they want.

1. Cassius and Brutus’ friendship is not authentic. They worked together because they had a common goal – to kill Caesar. In Act IV Scene 3 Brutus tells Cassius how he feels about him taking bribes. They got into a huge argument and as the readers we saw that Brutus did not really think highly of Cassius. At the end, we find out that the friendship was actually one sided, because Brutus spoke highly of Cassius when he found out about his death.

2. Brutus and Antony pretended to be friends in Act III Scene 1 after Caesar is killed. Brutus was saying telling Anthony that he would not be harmed if he came to talk with them and he basically pretended as if everything was alright. Antony did too – he tried to get Brutus and Cassius to believe that he almost agreed with what they did and tried to make them think that he was not upset about Caesar’s death, all the while he and Brutus were plastering fake smiles on their faces. This is an example of a fake friendship because both of them are not genuinely friends and they have ulterior motives talking to each other.

3. Antony and Caesar’s friendship may have not been as genuine as it seemed. Antony did not follow through with Caesar’s will – he wanted all, if not most, of the things that were promised to the people for himself.

Manipulation
In the play, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, there are many characters who try to use others to their advantage, flattering them and using their words to exploit others. The various instances of manipulation is repeatedly shown through the characters as they try to persuade others to join their ambitions.

1. In Act 3 Scene 2, Brutus tries to manipulate the crowd of people to understand why he killed Caesar. He tries to persuade them by saying how Caesar was too ambitious and using their love of Rome and identities as Romans to back up his reasons, which temporarily caused the crowd to join his side.

2. In the aforementioned Act 3 Scene 2, Antony later skillfully twists his words to make the crowd of people join his side. He continually states how Caesar cared for Rome, and that everything he did was for the good of Rome. He also repeats the statement “Brutus is an honourable man”, making the crowd question Brutus’s motives.
**both examples 1 and 2 show how the crowd is easily manipulated by both Brutus and Antony

3. In Act 4 Scene 1 Antony states how he plans to let Lepidus take the blame on the slanders, and compares him as an animal that needs to be trained. This demonstrates manipulation because Antony hide this from Lepidus, and lets him think that they are still allies. In reality he only uses him for his benefit, and does not really mean the things he says to Lepidus.

Pride
In Julius Caesar, many characters have shown that they are either too prideful or have little pride. For many of the characters, their pride has come in the way of their actions.

1. Before the war took place, Octavius tells Brutus and Cassius that he was not born to die on Brutus’ sword. Octavius is implying that he is too good to die this way and that shows the audience that he has too much pride.

2. Brutus tells his companions/soldiers that he would rather die by his own hand than be at the mercy of Octavius and Mark Antony. By taking his own life, he is the only one who can take credit for his death. He is too proud to put his life into the hands of the enemy even though his army lost, and tries to justify suicide saying that he will be more honorable than his enemies even in death.

3. Brutus reveals at the time of his death that he had not killed Caesar for the noble reasons he told the people. He was too proud to admit that he made a mistake in murdering Caesar because it ultimately lead to his death. He only admitted this because his death would save him from having to face what his pride had cost everyone.

Principles
In Julius Caesar, principles are shown in the actions and opinions of the people. It is the everyday morals and standards that people during this time live by. The characters principles become important during the time of Caesar’s death.

1. In act III scene I Caesar had just died and many people gather for Caesar’s funeral. The citizens are very easily persuaded by whoever is speaking and although Antony is limited on what he can say he tells the people how he feels about Caesar’s death and plays into their principles in life such as how they believe that Caesar should not have been killed which is why they had turned on what “noble” Brutus had just said and agreed with Antony.
-Principle: Loyalty because Brutus and Antony were friends of Caesar but Brutus killed Caesar, making Antony and the people angry

2. In act III scene II, Brutus and Antony spoke about the reason of Caesar’s death. Principles are shown when Antony talks about Caesar being killed for his ambitions and that it should be for the good of the people. The crowd shows no principles because they are easily manipulated by what Brutus says and then by what Antony says. Brutus’ principle that gives reason for killing Caesar is that everything he did was to help the people and that whatever he will do is for the good of the people.
-Principle: Equality/ Do what is right for the people because Brutus says he killed Caesar to protect the people and ensure their safety from his rule and ambition. This shows how Brutus thought that he had the people best interest.

3. In act III scene III after just being persuaded by Antony during his speech the people agree with what he had said and had fled to all of the conspirators houses to kill them. This just shows that these people are very easily manipulated and have no principles on life for the fact that are going to kill many people associated with Caesar’s death. Although they do not understand why Caesar was killed they have no problem killing these people due to the fact that he conspirators had just killed the most noble person of their time. The principles shown are by Antony when he indirectly says that what the conspirators did was wrong. The principles of the people seem to be an eye for an eye meaning that the conspirators who killed Caesar should be killed for what they have done.
-Principle: Justice/Eye for an eye because the people believe that the conspirators should be killed for killing Caesar.

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