Essay on Luke Julius Caesar

Submitted By Dchidz
Words: 1075
Pages: 5

The manner in which an audience perceives an event, situation or personality can be shaped to evoke a fervently impassioned response regarding power and ambition; as stated by Marcus Aurelius, “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” Composers inevitably manipulate the exhibition of meaning and perspective via an amalgamation of linguistic and textual form to provoke an interpretation of deliberate bias, as typified within William Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy Julius Caesar (1599), Oliver Stone’s conspiracy driven film JFK (1991), and the provocative feature article Poisoning the truth by Mariane Pearl (AWW, April 2008, pp 85-88). Thus the nature of conflicting perspectives is a dialectical relationship between collective principles and individual beliefs.

The foundations for conspiracy are derived from the clash of conflicting perspectives of power and ambition and the political ideologies that determine them, indubitably portrayed throughout Act 3 Scene I of Julius Caesar via altering perspectives in relation to the assassination of Caesar. Brutus presents his argument in intellectual terms, methodically outlining what he sees as the undeniable need for Caesar’s death, “As Caesar loved me, I weep for him … but as he was ambitious, I slew him.” The implementation of a successive series of parallel and balanced sentences constructed through the use of the antithetical words, “loved” and “weep”, provides reason and logical rational to explain the necessitation for the assassination. Shakespeare further delineates the essentiality of Caesar’s death via presentation of Cassius’ soliloquy, “After this let Caesar seat him sure / For we will shake him, or worse days endure”. Brutus’s uses a powerful emotional appeal when he communicates to the Roman people’s regard for their civic freedom, “who is here so vile that will not love his country? … I pause for a reply”. The dramatic pause, in conjunction with the use of the rhetorical question, aids an epigrammatic quality to his words and challenges the audience to oppose his perspective that Caesar was a tyrant, knowing full well that no one will publicly admit to being unpatriotic.

Moreover, these conflicting interpersonal perspectives are further epitomized through the leitmotif of power as Brutus states Caesar will “Come down upon us with a mighty power.” Ambition and power amalgamate as a single conceptual entity; yet Brutus, through his speech to the plebeians, simply asserts that Caesar was ambitious, he provided no explicit evidence to justify such an accusation apart from the belief in the speaker’s personal integrity, “believe me for mine honour”. Shakespeare intrinsically identifies the conflicting perspective of power within Brutus’ demand for a response from the plebeians in that he questions the reality of Caesar’s power. Through this, Shakespeare challenges responders with varying perspectives to allow them to form their own personal understanding and judgment of the event, personality and situation presented. Antony's speech on the other hand repeatedly refers to Brutus’ humility, cleverly interposed by ironic phrases such as “Brutus says” and “Brutus is honourable”, subtly manipulates the plebeians’ emotions of pity and curiousity to usurp the power of the conspirators, whilst challenging perceptions of Brutus and enforcing perspectives of doubt towards his listeners. The use of caesura and enjambment gives added weight to the moral resonance embedded within the rhetorical question, “I thrice presented him a kingly crown / which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?” refuting any charge of ambition against Caesar. Antony’s feud with Brutus examines to whom does power belong and that perhaps Caesar is meagerly a pawn within this convoluted scheme of power, politics and leadership.

Analogous to Julius Caesar, political loyalty versus private betrayal is a seminal theme conveyed throughout JFK. Kennedy’s