Julius Caesar New Historicism Analysis

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A Shakespearean text that I have studied is “Julius Caesar” and for the purpose of this essay I will be focusing on this particular piece of literature. It was in the year of 1599 that this play was first performed. Julius Caesar takes place in ancient Rome in 44 BCE, when Rome was the centre of an empire stretching from Britain to North Africa and from Persia to Spain. Yet even as the empire grew stronger, so, too, did the force of the dangers threatening its existence. Before looking at the play in detail, I will first discuss what ‘New Historicism’ is.
New Historicism is a form of literary critique which first developed in the 1980s, primarily through the work of the critic and Harvard English Professor Stephen Greenblatt, and gained widespread
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Shakespeare lived during the early modern period, a time in Western history that is set between the Middle Ages and the Industrial Revolution and has certainly helped in the creation of modern society. This period was characterized by major religious changes among other events. During King Henry VIII reign the Church of England broke from Rome. As a result of this, a new English identity was promoted from the religious independence. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, maritime explorations and trade helped England in becoming a major player on the world stage. Shakespeare’s plays were deeply influenced by this new sense of what it meant to be English. England had gone from being a rather unimportant country in Europe to an imperial power. Shakespeare began his career during the reign of Elizabeth I. During her forty-five year reign, England flourished. This is the reason why her reign is also referred to not only as the Elizabethan era but also as the Golden Age of Elizabeth. The virgin queen was one of the most popular monarchs in English history and loved the theatre. Shakespeare is often referred to as an Elizabethan playwright and poet. I will now discuss why this is important in understanding how a new historicist approach can illuminate a Shakespearean text such as Julius …show more content…
Elizabethan society was patriarchal, women were regarded as "the weaker sex", not just in terms of physical strength, but emotionally too. It was believed that women always needed someone to look after them. If they were married, their husband was expected to look after them. If they were single, then their father, brother or another male relative was expected to take care of them. Women were not allowed to go to school or to university, but they could be educated at home by private tutors. However despite this, many women in this period were highly educated, like the Queen herself who was tutored by the famous Elizabethan scholar Roger Ascham. Women were given even fewer rights in ancient Rome quite simply because Rome did not regard women as equal to men before the law. They received only a basic education, if any at all, and were completely subject to the authority of a man. So how does Shakespeare treat women in the world of Julius Caesar? It is quite clear from that the treatment of women in the play is very similar to that of women in Elizabethan England. While in the public sphere women had absolutely no standing, in the private sphere women often held far more control. This is apparent in the relationship between Caesar himself and his wife Calpurnia. It appears that Caesar's wife Calpurnia rules him in their home, but Caesar asserts his dominance in

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