Theme Of Ambition In Julius Caesar

In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Caesar exists only as a supporting character yet his ambition and assumption as a divine figure leads the entire play to exist under his shadow. Caesar’s influence and eternality throughout the play are undeniable, as even in death his permanence strengthens the triumvirate’s determination and precipitates the misfortunes of Brutus and Cassius. Caesar’s actions signify his ill-famed ambition and the autocracy by which he plans to govern Rome and subsequently, the permanence of the name ‘Caesar’ itself. Shakespeare is also adept at portraying Caesar to perceive himself at a distinction from the rest of humanity, synonymous of the play existing under Caesar’s shadow. The consequences of Caesar’s permanence are …show more content…
The foremost rationale behind the conspirator’s actions focuses on Caesar’s conjectured ambition, where his own behaviour substantiates this judgement. Shakespeare stresses the impression of Caesar’s autocracy, even in his initial appearance through portraying his orders as brief and peremptory, his powerful authority signifying his ambitious nature as Antony claims “When Caesar says, ‘Do this’, it is performed.” (I. II. 11) In retrospect, Shakespeare appears determined to stress Caesar’s autocracy, as once his mood has dejected, “The angry spot doth glow on Caesar’s brow / And all the rest look like a chidden train,” (I. II. 21) implying that the spirit of Rome is completely dependent on a tyrant’s whim and therefore symbolising the entire play to thrive under Caesar’s shadow. It corresponds with Cassius at the climax of his denunciation against Caesar where he conceptualizes one of the most memorable images of him as a superman: “Why man, he doth bestride the narrow world / Like a Colossus,” (I. II. 19) to establish the existence of the play under Caesar’s manifested ambition. Furthermore, Caesar’s own ambitious nature foreshadows his murder as he develops a suspicion, albeit confidential, towards Cassius, claiming “Such men as he be never at heart’s ease / Whiles they behold a greater than …show more content…
His truly noble humanity is revealed through his death and his tragic cry “Et tu, Brute? Then fall Caesar!” (III. I. 79) symbolising his soul and authority released from human frailties and transcended into divinity. From this point, all the emphasis is devoid from his ambition and placed upon his benevolence and achievements, “all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils.” (III. I. 83) Shakespeare addresses the permanence of the name ‘Caesar’ through characterizing the ensuing riots, all solely based upon “Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge.” (III. I. 89) Caesar’s spirit now dominates the finale of the play, his influence and eternality personified into a ghost avenging his own murder and haunting the conspirators with a sense of disillusionment until appeased by their deaths. “The ghost of Caesar hath appeared to me / Two several times by night … / I know my hour is come” (V. V. 159) is spoken by Brutus in attributing his inevitable death to the influence of Caesar, corresponding with his reaction upon seeing Cassius’ death, emphasising the eternality of Caesar and crying “O Julius Caesar, thou art mighty yet / Thy spirit walks abroad and turns our swords / In our own proper entrails.” (V. III. 155) Furthermore, Caesar’s chosen successor, Octavius, represents Caesar’s lasting legacy and the permanence of his

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