Julius Caesar Essay

Submitted By DanielCullen98
Words: 993
Pages: 4

Mr. Cahatol
Daniel Cullen
Thursday, April17th, 2014
“Our Fate is Written in the Stars”: Superstitions and the Supernatural in Julius Caesar Supernatural events can be described as forces beyond scientific understanding, while superstition is the belief in superhuman or magical manifestations. In ancient times many people would place their faith in omens and supernatural events. An example of superstition and the supernatural in the play Julius Caesar is when, prior to Caesar’s assassination, Casca witnesses several supernatural events in a violent storm. Furthermore, Calpurnia, the wife of Caesar, believes that her husband’s life is at risk after dreaming of his statue spilling blood as Romans smile and bathe their hands in it. One of the most apparent supernatural occurrences in this play is when the ghost of Caesar visits Brutus on the eve of the battle in Philippi. Due to Casca’s experience on the night of the storm, Calpurnia’s prophetic dreams and Brutus’ encounter with the ghost of Caesar, it is clear that superstitions and the supernatural play an important role in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Superstitions and the supernatural are evident in the play when Casca meets with Cicero one evening on a street in Rome. Casca describes to Cicero the supernatural events he has witnessed during a terrible storm “A common slave, you know him well by sight, Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn Like twenty torches join’d, and yet his hand, Not sensible of fire, remained unscorch’d”(1.3.15-18). Casca also claims to have seen a lion walking in front of the capitol that did not attack, a group of women huddled who saw men on fire and an owl at the marketplace hooting at noon. Cicero leaves as Cassius enters. Cassius uses the storm to convince Casca to join the conspirators against Caesar by telling him that the supernatural events are omens that Caesar will eradicate the Republic. Cassius tells Casca that this storm is a sign of Rome in chaos under Caesar’s rule, “Now could I, Casca, name to thee a man Most like this dreadful night, That thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars As doth the lion in the Capitol” (1.3.72-75). In this quote, Cassius is comparing Caesar to the horrific events that Casca has witnessed during the storm. The conspirators perceive this violent storm as “divine warnings” of what will happen to the state of Rome. These supernatural events are important because they foreshadow important events to come, as well as further the need for the conspirators to kill Caesar. Calpurnia’s dream the night before Caesar’s assassination is another clear example of superstition in the play. In Calpurnia’s dream, she sees Caesar’s statue spouting blood while Romans surround it smiling. Calpurnia wakes up frantically and does her best to convince Caesar not to go to the Senate by telling him that her dream is a warning of the fate that awaits him. “She dreamt to-night she saw my statue, Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts, Did run pure blood; and many lusty Romans Came smiling and did bathe their hands in it” (2.2.76-79) said Caesar anticipating his own death. After hearing this prophecy from one’s wife, most people would realize that they should not go out. After Caesar consults Decius, he is convinced into thinking that he is just misinterpreting the dream and he is determined to go to the senate despite of Calpurnia’s best wishes. “Your statue spouting blood in many pipes, In which so many smiling Romans bathed, Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck Reviving blood” (2.2.85-88) said Decius convincingly to Caesar. Caesar’s unwillingness to be superstitious is a characteristic that contributes to his arrogance and allows him to believe that he is an immortal leader. This is an excellent example of superstition because to some the dream may seem irrational but to someone who is