Prophecy in Elizabethan Era and in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

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During the life and times of William Shakespeare, prophecy held heavy influence over the Elizabethan people. The term prophecy represented the only certain method of predicting future events; Shakespeare uses this fact to his advantage in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Throughout the play, prophecy is utilized to aid in the development of primary characters such as Caesar, Casca, Cassius, and Brutus that will in turn emphasize important events in the tragedy.
Until he is assassinated, Julius Caesar is characterized by his lack of interest in warnings, specifically those that take the form of a prophecy. Toward the start of the play, a soothsayer warns, “Beware the ides of March” (I.ii.24). Caesar responds, “He is a dreamer, let us leave
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Either there is a civil strife in heaven,
Or else the world, too saucy with the gods,
Incenses them to send destruction. (I.iii.9-13)

Seeing also an influx of birds, he deduces:

Hooting and shrieking. When these prodigies
Do so conjointly meet, let not men say,
“These are their reasons, they are natural,”
For I believe they are portentous things
Unto the climate that they point upon. (I.iii.28-32)

With these lines, Casca proves himself to be an exemplary foil to Caesar. He is cowardly where Caesar’s bravery is undying; he is cruel and selfish where Caesar is for the good of the people. He is also, conveniently, the first of the conspirators to stab Caesar. Shakespeare, in this event, creates a greater degree of sympathy for Caesar in his audience. A third character developed and utilized well as a result of prophecy would be Cassius. Unlike Caesar and Casca, Cassius undergoes change that reveals itself to the public through his responses to prophecies. In his conversation with Casca about the omens of late he notes, “But men may construe things after their fashion, / Clean from the purpose of the things themselves” (I.iii.34-35). By this, he disregards Casca’s worries and moves forward with confidence as true as Caesar’s. For Cassius, unfortunately, this confidence does not last. Before he engages in war with Antony and Octavius, he frets:
Two mighty eagles fell, and there they perched,
Gorging and feeding

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