Theme in Julius Caesar

Daniel Kim


William Shakespeare's tragedy Julius Caesar attempts to show the reader through the effects of powerful words through the use of literary elements of rhetorical devices and characterization. When Brutus and Antony are giving their speeches on Caesar's death, they use rhetorical devices such as logos to boost the support of their point of view. Brutus's view and use of logos was that Caesar was too ambitious, and his ambition would cause the people of Rome to be forced to work under harsh conditions for Caesar in which this evidence from the text supports his cause: "Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men?" Antony's view and use of logos was that Caesar was not ambitious, because he never showed an act of brutality towards the citizens; he would help and relate with them instead. Both Brutus and Antony use characterization when referring to Caesar, which in turn helps their cause. Brutus's characterization of Caesar was ambitious and would stop at no means to get something done, no matter what. Antony's characterization of Julius was kind and caring because he quotes, "I thrice presented him a kingly crown, which he did thrice refuse: is this ambition?" He shows that Julius never was a ambitious man; he was instead considerate of the people.