Rome: Roman Republic and Caesar Essay

Submitted By CedricWashington
Words: 712
Pages: 3

William Shakespeare, renowned worldwide as one of the greatest playwrights of all time, was a man who was captivated by history. He wrote a number of histories for previous kings of England, including Richard the Lionheart, Henry VIII, and King John, but it is for his tragedies, which he is best known. Shakespearean tragedies manage to convey more than they intend to in their study of life and its essential futility, and are by far Shakespeare's most acclaimed works. From HAMLET to ROMEO AND JULIET, Shakespeare's classic plays concerning the great inevitable are arguably his best. JULIUS CAESAR is no exception.

The real Julius Caesar was a man of great compassion who desired power, but above all, wanted to see the citizens of Rome prosper. After defeating the armies of Pompey and gaining control of all of Rome, Caesar began to institute changes intended for the betterment of the Roman society, and quickly became beloved by his citizens. Unfortunately, his forgiving nature misled him into pardoning and later befriending a former ally of Pompey's named Marcus Brutus. Caesar placed Brutus in several positions of power within the Republic, and trusted the young man above all his allies. Brutus soon began planning the assassination of Caesar with another holder of high office named Cassius. He felt that the power Caesar held would go to the dictator's head, and in the case of a weaker man, this would have been true, but certainly not Caesar. Why would a man who twice refused a crown upon its offering in rapid succession begin to misuse his power and let it get the better of him? The conspirators, however, let this not get in the way of their hunger for power, merely disguised as concern for the welfare of all of Rome. Despite some misgivings, Brutus aided in the assassination of Caesar, and was soon an enemy of the Roman Republic under the adopted son of Caesar, Octavius. Before he and Cassius could be hunted down by the new leader of Rome, however, they committed suicide.

Octavius Caesar later took the name of Augustus and ushered in a golden age for Rome. Shakespeare's play, however, only covers events up to Caesar's death. Despite some historical inaccuracies, Shakespeare managed to remain, for the most part, accurate in his depiction of the assassination. A few things that Shakespeare changed were the character of Brutus, whom he changed from shameless conspirator to misguided hero of the people, the dates in between the offering of the diadem wreathed with laurel to Caesar from Mark Antony and Caesar's untimely death, and the reason Brutus hesitated in participating in cold-blooded murder. In the play, Brutus hesitates because he is unsure if he will be helping the people of Rome or not. In…