Shakespeare's Julius Caesar theme

By: Kyra Brown

Friendship/Loyalty/Betrayal

William Shakespeare’s tragedy Julius Caesar aims to show the audience the severity of betrayal within a friendship through the use of metaphorical devices. In No Fear Shakespeare Julius Caesar, Brutus’ soliloquy includes, “That lowliness is young ambition’s ladder, whereto the climber upward turns his face. But when he once attains the upmost round, He then unto the ladder turns his back” (page 50). He uses the metaphor of a ladder to show how the possession of power can lead to the betrayal of one. On page 157, Antony compares Lepidus to his horse by saying: “So is my horse, Octavius, and for that reason I give him all the hay he wants.” Antony is going behind Lepidus’ back and talking negatively of him to Octavius. These two metaphorical devices help demonstrate the reality of betrayal within friendships.