Power in Julius Caesar

Nicholas Kruegler

Characterization and Repetition

William Shakespeare, in his tragedy Julius Caesar, shows the power of words in portraying a man as influential through the use of indirect characterization and repetition. Caesar, after deciding to not go to the senate, attempts to show his supremacy over Decius and the rest of the senators by saying, “The cause [of me not going] is in my will. I will not come. That is enough to satisfy the senate” (Act II, sc ii, 71-73). Saying that his wants should be a justification enough for the senate shows his desire to be dominant over the senate. This statement by Caesar characterize him as a controlling man, who wants to not be questioned by his associates. In Antony’s speech to the plebeians, he repeatedly uses the line, “For Brutus is an honorable man” (Act III, sc ii, 80). The more that Antony repeats, “honorable man” the less it seems like he actually means what he says and the more sarcastic it sounds. The power of this repetition gives Antony’s speech more emotion and therefore gives Antony power in the eyes of the plebeians. Shakespeare's use of characterization and repetition in both Caesar's and Antony's speeches demonstrates the power that both of these Roman leaders hold.