Theme Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

by Sebastian Sanchez


The abuse of power is by far the biggest and most important theme in Shakespeare’s tragedy Julius Caesar; in the action of this play, power turns good leaders into tyrants. In Act I it foreshadows what conflict will come in the near future: “Caesar refused the crown that it had almost choked Caesar; for he swooned and fell down at it.” (Act I Scene II). This represents the negative effects that power can have on a leader, and how it can make a man go mad. After Caesar was killed by his own friends over the fear that he would turn corrupt with power, a new conflict emerged over who should be the new leader of Rome. A great power struggle between two main factions ensued, and the two forces of each side met to decide who should rule Rome at the fields of Phillipi. This is again a conflict that is only being fought because of two sides who want to take all the power for themselves. The entire conflict could have been avoided if they had let Julius Caesar live, for in the story “Never, till Caesar's three and thirty wounds be well avenged; or till another Caesar have added slaughter to the sword of traitors.” (Act 5 Scene 1). This slaughter is demonstrated at the massive battle between Octavian Caesar and Antonius, against the republican forces of Cassius and Brutus. Both Brutus and Cassius commit suicide, and with their legions either routed or joined with the enemy, Octavian took control over Rome and became its first emperor.

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