Scrutinizing the importance of superstition, omens, nightmares, misinterpretation and supernatural events in the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare and the effect these things have on the central characters in the play.
In this essay we will be scrutinizing the importance of superstition, omens, nightmares, misinterpretation and supernatural events in the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare and the effect these things have on the central characters in the play.
Julies Caesar is set in 44BC in ancient Rome. Marcus Brutus and Cassius are the leaders of a group of conspirators whose target is to kill Rome’s top general-Julius Caesar. Brutus believes that killing Julius Caesar is in the best interest of Rome. After Caesar is assassinated Brutus is assigned as the general of Rome’s vast army. He loses an important battle and commits suicide.
Superstition plays a big role in the structure of this play. One of the first instances of the importance of superstition is when the augerers dissect a canine and find “no heart within the beast” . Even though this is clearly a unholy act Caesar ignores it completely and misinterprets it as a good sign. “For he is superstitious grown of late”. Referring to Caesar-Act 2 Scene 1 Line 195. “The Barren, touched in this holy chase, shake of their sterile curse” is another good example of superstition. This quote is on (Act 1 Scene 2 Line 8-9) and it emphasis the superstitious role of the central characters in the play.
I am now going to discuss the bad omens present in this play. Even though the weather is bad Cassius ignores it completely which reveals to us that he isn’t a believer of omens and the supernatural. There is a great amount of bad weather scenes in this play and when the bad weather comes it is an indication of a bad omen about to occur. -Act 2 Scene 2 “thunder and lightning” and Caesar states “Nor even nor earth have been at peace tonight” which indicates that the gods are uneasy and restless. After that phrase there is a vital piece of information. “Thrice hath Calphurnia in her sleep cried out, help ho they murder Caesar” .This a very straight forward bad omen but as woman weren’t very high up the social ranking of Rome Caesar didn’t take a lot of interest of this warning from Calphurnia and her vision and ignored it. This comes clear to us that Caesar truly believes he is an invincible god. This is backed up by Act 1 scene 2 line 24.The wise and noble soothsayer utters to Caesar “beware the ides of march” but Caesar completely disregards the soothsayers word. “the ghost of Caesar hath appeared to me two several times by night at Sardis once and this last night here in Philippi fields. “I know my hour is come” which indicated that he knows he is going to die and he accepts his fate. . Act 5 Scene 5 Line 17.This quote indicates that Brutus knows he is going to die if he goes to Philippi. This brings us into the fate vs. free will argument. Even though he knows he will die if he goes to Phillipi Cassius still goes. “The fault dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves that are underlings” which means that Brutus believes that destiny and fate do not exist. I don’t think that Brutus misinterprets the coming of Caesar to his dream but more that Brutus doesn’t really care if he dies because he is an honourable man. A very crucial part of this play is on act 1 scene 3 line 20 “against the capitol I met a lion, who gazed upon me and went surly by” and also this quote “upon a heap a hundred ghostly women transformed with their fear, who swore they saw men all in fire walk up and down the street” This is a misinterpretation and a bad omen. It emphasises that a bad omen is going to happen because the streets are filled with havoc and chaos but I think there is a little bit of exaggeration.
In this essay I think I have covered importance of superstition, omens, nightmares, misinterpretation and supernatural events in the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare