Theme Julius Caesar
Fate vs. Free Will
In Shakespeare’s famous play Julius Caesar, the theme of fate vs free will is focused upon with literary elements in attempt to make the reader question themselves about the determination of the future and the decisions of the present. He wants to make people debate about if fate is set in stone or if our freedoms of action can alter it. Shakespeare uses characterization and conflict in the play’s script to exaggerate this theme. The first example of fate vs free will is Julius Caesar’s foreseen death by a soothsayer. “Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March. Caesar: What man is that? Brutus: A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.” (Act 1 Scene II). The soothsayer warned Julius of his fate to die mid-March, but Julius’ free will ignored it, showing his characteristic to overlook things. Julius had many instances where he could have prevented his death if he had taken the right moves, but he ignored the signs, and fate won. The conflict between Cassius and Brutus also explains fate and free will. Cassius believes that letting fate take its course is too passive, while Brutus believes the opposite. “Cassius: Men at sometime were masters of their fates. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” (Act I Scene II). Brutus and Cassius’ debate/ conflict presents valid points for the reader to consider. But, the play ultimately suggest that fate and freedom must be balanced.