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Julius Caesar is probably one of the most referenced works by Shakespeare; it depicts actualities drawn upon the events in the Roman Empire. According to Wyke (4), the play explores the dramatic structure of Julius Caesar’s ambition to take to the throne of the Roman Empire. The drama introduces Julius Caesar as a man with unyielding ambition to the throne, having fought for the good of the nation. Although regarded by many pundits as a hero, Julius Caesar is equally facing opposition to ascend to Roman leadership, and there is a hatched conspiracy to assassinate him (Taylor 301). Tragic events permeate the plot and literary scholars refer to Julius Caesar as a tragedy itself.
After a successful war that saw the killing of Pompey, Caesar returns to Rome to proclaim his Kingship. There is pure irony as a community projects itself to have more regard for an individual than a nation. The culminating events are tense; the nation is appalled, and something has to be done to neutralize the situation. Caesar is a national figure although there is clear polarization in the senate to stop his ascendancy. Overall, Caesar seems to have greater opportunities of ascending to Kinship (Wyke 5).
Despite great opportunity that Caesar wields, Cassius is championing forces to halt Caesar’s ascendancy. Cassius aligns his team and convinces Brutus to be part of this plot. The opposition clout against Caesar thinks he will dominate Rome and subsequently institute tyranny under his watch. Brutus is fronted as the best candidate to face off with Caesar in a duel. Brutus is probably aware of the personal sacrifices and the patriotic commitments that Caesar has made to Rome. Brutus ignores calls to challenge Caesar, and affirms that the nation is greater that all individuals (Taylor 303). The conspirators plot to assassinate Caesar was taken aback by Brutus refusal to challenge Caesar. In the end, Caesar is killed thrashing the nation into panic.
Antony steals an opportunity to make a strong statement in a keynote speech during Caesar’s burial. He, particularly, registers his disgust to the traitors for the wrongs they have done both to Caesar and to the nation. His speech, according to Taylor (305), arouses the nation, making the citizens come out to the streets to protest Caesar’s killing. Antony’s remarks further point a finger at Brutus and Cassius who are jointly suspected to have a hand in the King’s assassination (Taylor 304).
Antony, nonetheless, betrays Brutus and Cassius who confide in him to keep their plot secret. Consequently, Brutus and Cassius flee the city while Antony gets the support of Octavius and Lepidus. Brutus and Cassius decide not to go back to Rome for there lays the wrath of the citizens in their actions. However, despite the title of the play, Brutus and Cassius suffice as the tragic characters due to their conspiracy for personal gains that plunge the country into abject civil war and utter desperation.
Julius Caesar is a replica of what happened in the Roman Empire. It is a confirmation of Shakespeare’s tendency to revise history through drama. In addition, it shows how conspiracy plays out in politics, and how death is the reward of all human ills. Brutus and Cassius commit suicide when they are aware that they can no longer subdue Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus whose firm grip on power is unwavering. Antony seems to have a brighter future in the yet to be established Rome. Despite its historic overtones, Julius Caesar is a tragedy of grand proportions.
Taylor, Myron. “Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and the Irony of History.” Shakespeare Quarterly 24.3 (1973): 301–308. Print.
Wyke, Maria. Julius Caesar in western culture. Oxford, England: Blackwell, 2006. Print.