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Shakespeare & Julius Caesar

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1 Shakespeare & Julius Caesar

2 William Shakespeare Birth celebrated as April 23, 1564
Died April 23, 1616 Married Anne Hathaway in 1582 She was 8 years Bill’s senior Had three children: Susanna, Hamnet, Judith Lapse from

3 Shakespeare’s Career By 1592- actor and playwright
1594- charter member of Lord Chamberlain's Men 1603- Changed to King’s Men Retired in 1612 Wrote 37 plays Julius Caesar written in 1599

4 Why is his work so popular?
Shakespeare wrote about human nature and how people behave. Although his words can be hard to understand, his ideas are as relevant now as they were four centuries ago.

5 Shakespeare’s Use of Language
Meter: rhythm of speech organized into patterns called feet Blank Verse: unrhymed iambic pentameter Heroic Couplet: 2 lines of iambic pentameter that rhyme

6 Iambic Pentameter Consists of iambs (hence, the iambic part)
Iamb=a set of 2 syllables (a foot), the first being unstressed (u) and the second being stressed (/)-opposite is trochaic Five iambs per line (the pentameter part) Therefore, there are 10 syllables in each line Usually, the more important words or parts of words are stressed

7 Elizabethan Stage The Globe (“Wooden O”)- Jan. 20, 1599
Caesar -Probably the first play to be performed at The Globe Sets would primarily be imagined by the audience (heaven, stage, hell) All actors male 1613- Henry VIII, light fuse to cannon, theatre burned down

8 The Globe Theatre The theatre most associated with Shakespeare
Shakespeare owned it in joint with others— unusual for a playwright Thrust Stage, 3-sided, platform, tiers of seats, groundlings Rebuilt Globe, on the Thames, in recent years.

9 Elizabethan Theatre The audience
It was an entertainment for everyone, like movies today. The cheapest tickets cost a penny, which most ordinary people could afford. People jeered at the actors and shouted out rude remarks Some even climbed onto the stage and joined in with swordfights. People also brought food with them to eat during the performance, or to throw at bad actors.

10 Julius Caesar Quick Facts
60 B.C.- First Triumvirate (Crassus, Pompey, Caesar) Caesar crosses Rubicon March 15, 44 B.C.- Caesar assassinated ‘Ides of March’ 43 B.C.- Second Triumvirate (Antony, Lepidus, Octavian)

11 Background of Caesar Opens in 44 BC – when Rome had made conquests that allowed it to have an empire in N. Africa, Britain, Persia, and Spain.

12 City itself collapsing despite conquests
Background of Caesar City itself collapsing despite conquests Military endeavors more ambitious  generals stronger while senators weaker and factionalized Sharp class divisions

13 City itself collapsing despite conquests
Background of Caesar City itself collapsing despite conquests Majority of population not interested in maintaining “republic”

14 Caesar emerged as most likely to succeed
Background of Caesar Caesar emerged as most likely to succeed Remarkable general Popular among lower classes at home

15 Caesar emerged as most likely to succeed
Background of Caesar Caesar emerged as most likely to succeed Ability Charisma Ambition Good luck

16 Caesar emerged as most likely to succeed
Background of Caesar Caesar emerged as most likely to succeed Extremely valuable and extremely dangerous to the state

17 Caesar caused conflict
Background of Caesar Caesar caused conflict Legal and military attempts to curb his power failed Group of conspirators assassinated him, causing civil war

18 New regime Background of Caesar
Caesar’s friend Mark Antony and his heir, Octavius, defeated the conspirators

19 New regime Background of Caesar
Octavius was installed as emperor Augustus, and senate reduced to ceremonial role

20 The Importance of Caesar
Caesar’s assassination and death affected Rome and its territories for centuries Story is simultaneously personal and political

21 Differing views Assassination as act of heroism, expediency, or villainy – celebrate, excuse, or denounce its perpetrators?

22 Differing views Michelangelo, Milton idealize Brutus as selfless defender of human liberty Dante sends Brutus and Cassius into the deepest pit of hell

23 Shakespeare’s Caesar Shakespeare gathered his information mostly from biographies written by Plutarch, a Greek historian. He took liberties with time frames, condensing events of many years into a few days. Shakespeare also took many other liberties with the dialogue and even some events to heighten the dramatic effect. Shakespeare was more concerned with demonstrating a thematic point than with presenting accurate history.

24 WHO CARES? So why did Shakespeare feel that Renaissance England would respond to Julius Caesar?

25 Shakespeare saw Caesar and Roman civilization not just as one that precedes the future, but as one that sets the pattern for future civilizations. Shakespeare's England faced concerns of a country about to change leadership and centuries. Caesar, Brutus, cassius, Antony, and Cleopatra were enticing figures in Renaissance England because the play allowed the Elizabethans to explore questions that otherwise might be considered taboo.

26 The Play--- In 1599 the play would have served as a timely reminder of the enormous upheaval that would follow an attempt to seize power through violent means. Caesar, Brutus, cassius, Antony, and Cleopatra were enticing figures in Renaissance England because the play allowed the Elizabethans to explore questions that otherwise might be considered taboo.

27 JC's current relevance:
Themes in Julius Caesar have an equal relevance for politics now, 400 years later. In the rivalry between political intimates, Cassius and Brutus, the somewhat shady financial dealings of the central characters, and the concerns about Caesar's style of leadership, there are undoubted parallels with societies today.

28 JC's current relevance:
It is this issue of leadership and, in particular, the question of when effective leadership becomes a tyranny, that has most relevance. Consider the role of President, Prime Ministers, Senates, etc.

29 JC's current relevance:
But the play is also about more ageless issues, such as the corrupting effect of power. "People are rightly nervous about placing trust in politicians," says Rylance. "I believe that the vast majority of politicians are genuinely trying to do some good. But there is always the danger, when in a position of power, that means and ends can become blurred."

30 Shakespeare’s most famous and popular plays
Tragedies Shakespeare’s most famous and popular plays Romeo and Juliet; Macbeth; Hamlet; Othello; King Lear; Julius Caesar

31 Tragic Hero Character usually of high birth, who is neither totally good nor totally bad, and whose downfall is brought about by a character flaw or error in judgment.

32 Doom and Destiny Many people believed in fate, or destiny, and in the power of the stars to foretell the future. Shakespeare uses the idea of fate or destiny to add excitement and anticipation to the tragedies Uses a prophecy as a way of holding the audience’s interest, because everyone wants to see if it will be fulfilled.

33 Look for Rhetoric “The art or study of using language effectively and persuasively” Make sure to look for persuasion and the use of language throughout the play (note the characters techniques to win public and political support)

34 Elements of Fiction/Shakespearean Tragedy
Exposition: Characters & Setting Act I Rising Action: Introduction of Conflicts Act II Climax: Turning Point Act III In a tragedy, things usually go from bad to worse in Act III Falling Action: Conflict resolution begins to fall into place Result of the climax Act IV Denouement: Main conflicts are resolved Act V This act includes a catastrophe, which is another climactic turning point in the story line.

35 Julius Caesar Physically weak: Caesar has several infirmities
A tyrant: Caesar has had Marullus and Flavius arrested Superstitious: Caesar believes in portents and dreams Indecisive: Caesar cannot make up his mind whether or not to go to the senate Inflexible: Caesar thinks himself perfect and decisive Protagonist: Julius Caesar is an arrogant soldier and ambitious politician, who believes that he is infallible. After his great victory over the sons of Pompey, he believes that he is worthy of more power than just being the head of Rome; he wants to be crowned the leader of the entire Roman Empire.

36 Brutus * Of Noble Heritage Brutus is a Roman nobleman, as was his father Sincere: Brutus truly believes that his role in the assassination is for the good of Rome Honest: He refuses to take bribes Naive: He believes in the essential goodness of those around him Philosophical: His philosophies guide his actions and decisions.

37 Cassius · Envious: Cassius has contempt for Caesar and envies Caesar's position · Fearful: Cassius is afraid that Caesar has ambitions to be king. He fears what might become of Rome in such an instance. · Politically Astute: He advises Brutus to assassinate Antony along with Caesar. Understanding what can happen, he advises Brutus not to allow Antony to speak at Caesar's funeral. · Corrupt: Prior to the battle at Philippi, he is accused by Brutus of taking bribes · Military Strategist: His battle plan for Philippi is well thought out and based on sound military principles

38 Marc Antony Loyal to Caesar: Antony loved and admired Caesar
· Clever: Antony pretends to befriend the conspirators and asks that he be allowed to speak at Caesar's funeral A skilled orator: Antony's speech at Caesar's funeral sways the crowd Hard: Antony's role in condemning men to death shows he can be as cold hearted as he is passionate · A skilled military leader: Antony has an equal voice in planning the war against the legions of Brutus and Cassius

39 THEMES Major Theme The major theme of Julius Caesar is that misused power is a corruptive force. This is seen in the fact that Caesar is a dictator suspected of being tyrannous, that Cassius is so power hungry that he assassinates Caesar, hoping to become more powerful himself, and that Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus become a dictatorial and tyrannical Triumvirate, worse than Caesar ever hinted at being.


41 Minor Themes goodness of loyalty, honor, and friendship;
the evil of pride, conspiracy, and anarchy; the logic of political order; and the viability of republicanism as a form of government.

42 MOOD The mood of Julius Caesar is one of impending doom and catastrophe. From the beginning, danger lurks in every corner. Friends can no longer be trusted, as they turn to manipulation and conspiracy and plot their next moves. Images of violence, blood, and death dominate the visual texture of the play. The weighty political intrigue is always present throughout the drama. The latter half of the play even assumes an eerie mood with the appearance of Caesar's ghost, returning to seek revenge. The closing phase of the play is dominated by the sinister image of the sword.

43 Antagonists Caesar's antagonists are Brutus, Cassius, and the other conspirators who do not want him to become the head of the Roman Empire. They plot to overthrow Caesar and assassinate him outside the Capitol; he is an easy target because of his fatal flaw - his extreme "hubris" or pride. Many times, Caesar is nearly saved by omens and warnings, but he disregards them, thinking himself infallible. He is so proud that he is easily flattered, leading him to think less strategically and placing himself in grave danger.


45 SETTING Julius Caesar is largely set in Rome, in February of the year 44 B.C. In later scenes, the action moves to Sardis and the battlefield at Philippi. The physical landmarks of ancient Rome, such as the Tiber River, the Capitol, and the house of the Senate, are referred to with great frequency. The Forum is also the setting for an important scene. Roman political institutions and officials, such as tribunes, Senators, Patricians, and priests, are always present.


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