Theme in Julius Caesar

The Results of Extreme Power

The events in William Shakespeare's tragedy Julius Caesar all led up to a central theme of power which is portrayed by a wide array of characters. In fact, the climax of the entire play resulted from doubt in Caesar’s power. Shakespeare incorporates this theme subtly with the help of literary devices. Symbolism, for example, is used throughout the plot such as lines 13-14 “How that might change his nature, there’s the question. It is the bright day that brings forth the adder.” (Shakespeare, 22) Brutus is comparing Caesar’s authority to the rise of a snake. He says they must “Kill him in the shell” (Line 34), which basically sets the eerie mood for the rest of the play. The symbol of the snake, sneaky and unpredictable, is put forth on Caesar early on because of the intense amount of power he holds. Julius Caesar also depicts its theme through the use of extended metaphors, from massive storms to Caesar’s blood. Right after Caesar was killed, Brutus exclaimed: “Shmoop, Romans, Shmoop, and let us bathe our hands in Caesar’s blood. Up to the elbows, and besmear our swords. Then walk we forth, even to the marketplace. And, waving our red weapons o’er our heads, let us all cry “Peace, freedom, and liberty!” (Lines 103-110) The metaphor of the red blood, or in this case Caesar’s blood, shows how his power was taken over. With the power of the people and moralities, unfair power can be taken away. Shakespeare incorporated many literary tools into his writing to enhance one of the main themes in his play.