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Theme in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

William Shakespeare’s tragedy Julius Caesar shows the reader a power struggle between the senate and the king. The main theme is homicide. It is the thought of weather the killing of the king is reasonable. Julius Caesar is a tragedy that is that things are not always what they appear to be.

Theme Ideas: What is William Shakespeare trying to say about…

· Power

o The Struggle of maintaining power played its central role through Julius Caesar. The Senate grew fearful of crowning Julius as king and thus losing their own power of rule over Rome of many decades.

· Fate & Free Will

o Free Will was soon to be unheard of while Julius Caesar reigned. As he commanding, things were done almost immediately. Julius’ dictatorship is was scared the Senate. But even after Julius Caesar was murdered, the next rulers (Octavius, Lipidus and Antony) made sure that the fate and Free Will of even their family laid in the palm of their hands.

· Friendship/ Loyalty/ Betrayal

o William Shakespeare teaches us through Julius Caesar that friendship has no bounds. Julius trusted Brutus with his future, he trusts that he would have his best interests in mind while playing his role in the senate. Unfortunately, Brutus ends up betraying Julius just like everyone else.

· Gender Roles

o Women were perceived as second class citizens in the Roman times. Julius though, more often than not would present the point of a women throughout his leadership.

· Manipulation

o Brutus was manipulated by the Senate, leading to the Murder of Julius Caesar.

· The Power of Words

o Words are everything. Words played their key role in persuading even Julius’ closest friend to betray him.

· Heroes & Villains

o Julius Caesar was the hero, he rose from humility and blossomed into a leader of great popularity.

o The Senate in turn carried out as the villain of which murdered Julius.

· Pride / Ambition

o The pride and ambition of the Senate served as fuel in their fight for absolute power.

· Warnings

o In one case, Caesar’s wife had a dream where his blood was to be spilled and the people rejoiced because of it. This was used as to warn Julius of the conspirators (the Senate) rallying against him.

· The Price of Success

o While Julius successfully gained his reign, he found himself at a loss when blind trust ends up killing him

"The cause is in my will. I will not come. / That is enough to satisfy the senate. / But for your private satisfaction, / Because I love you, I will let you know. / Calpurnia here, my wife, stays me at home. / She dreamt tonight she saw my statue, / Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts, / Did run pure blood; and many lusty Romans / Came smiling and did bathe their hands in it. / And these does she apply for warning and portents / And evils imminent, and on her knee / Hath begged that I will stay at home today" (2.2. 76-87)


Before Julius Caesar was to be betrayed by the Senate, along with his closest friend Brutus, his wife Calpurnia had a dream. The dream served as a warning and foreshadowing of the impending fate of the great king. The dream detailed the death of King Julius Caesar and how his people took delight in it. The people were described as being full of lust. Lust is defined as one filled with desire. These “lusty Romans” in the dream desired the blood of the King.

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world

Like a Colossus, and we petty men

Walk under his huge legs and peep about

To find ourselves dishonorable graves. (1.2.142-145)


As Cassius tries to convince Brutus that Caesar needs to be taken down, he conjures up a vivid image of the Roman leader as a "Colossus" – a giant statue, like the Colossus of Rhodes. The imagery in this particular scene portrays him as an all-powerful figure not to be messed with.

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