Fate vs. Free Will in Julius Caesar Essay

935 Words May 29th, 2005 4 Pages
In William Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, two interesting forces, fate and free will, are shown competing for prominence over the other. Fate was exemplified in the many prophecies and omens the characters viewed throughout the play. Free will was the characters abilities to overcome and defeat their fate. Many characters have struggles with the power of their free will overcoming their fate, namely Caesar, Cassius, and Brutus. Although in the end all three of those characters succumb to their fate, Shakespeare shows that there is a delicate equilibrium between the two forces. Of the three men, Caesar's fate seemed most obvious to him and to the reader. However, Caesar used his free will in many instances to in large part ignore his …show more content…
This is due to the fact that Cassius followed the Epicurean philosophy, which believes that the gods do not involve themselves directly in the fate of man. This belief was highlighted when he told Brutus "Men at some time are masters of their fates: the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our starts, but in ourselves, that we are underlings" (I. ii. 139-141). Because of this belief, he never resigned himself to live in the world in its current state. He always felt that there was something he could do to better his standing in life. This diligent effort to better himself led Caesar to comment "such men as he…are very dangerous" (I. ii. 209-210). Cassius' role in the play was using his free will to overcome the fate that would come true, the fate that Caesar was one day going to become emperor. Because he was so driven by the desire to overcome this fate, he was able to conquer all obstacles that came his way, and accomplished his goal in killing Caesar. Towards the end of the play, however, Cassius states that he has changed his mind and the gods are not looking favorably on their mission. Here he died by his own sword because he felt that his fate, as illustrated by the eagles, was too overwhelming to defeat. Brutus had a very conflicting viewpoint than that of Cassius. Brutus was a stoic; meaning he believed that bad things would not happen to good people, the gods

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