The Superstitions Present in the Play Julius Caesar Essay examples

Submitted By The_301_Spartan
Words: 1261
Pages: 6

John Doe
Mr. Jake
Honors English I, Period 8
12 May 2015
The Superstitions of Julius Caesar People can interpret omens in many different ways, but which of those can alter a way a person thinks, and ultimately, their decisions? Sometimes, ignoring or misinterpreting these omens can lead to calamity for a person or the people around them. Caesar certainly encounters some of these signs in the play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, but fails to recognize their true meaning and significance, leading to his eventual downfall. The author of the drama Julius Caesar is William Shakespeare. Some of the superstitions in the play go so far as to change the outcome of the story, urging some people to do things that they would not do under normal circumstances. For example, Calpurnia foresees the death of Caesar in her dream, which Decius quickly reinterprets into Caesar’s success. On the night before the Ides of March, a great storm is present, which makes Casca think that something bad will happen, while Cassius thinks that it is urging them on to kill Caesar. Finally, when Brutus goes to Philippi, he sees the Ghost of Caesar twice, foreshadowing his death. On the night before the Ides of March, Calpurnia begs Caesar to not go to the Senate-house the next day. She has a dream about a lion in the Capitol, and the dead have risen from their graves. She has another the same night in which a statue of Caesar is running with blood, while Romans are bathing their hands in it. When Caesar is first told of these dreams, he does not find them to be credible and still desires to go to the Senate-house. Afterwards a slave brings a message from the augurers to Caesar: "They would not have you to stir forth today. / Plucking the entrails of an offering forth, / They could not find a heart within the beast." (2.2.38-40) Caesar tries to reinterpret it his own way, saying that he would be a beast without a heart for staying at home. Caesar is finally swayed by Calpurnia to not visit the Senate on the Ides of March. However, just after Caesar is convinced not to leave, Decius arrives at Caesar's house to fetch him. Caesar tells him that he will not be leaving his house that day, and told him about Calpurnia's dream. Since it is Decius's job to bring Caesar to the conspirators on the Ides, he tries to convince them that Calpurnia's dream was misinterpreted. The interpretation Decius gives is much more favorable to Caesar being successful: "This dream is all amiss interpreted; / It was a vision fair and fortunate: / Your statue spouting blood in many pipes, / In which so many smiling Romans bathed, / Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck / Reviving blood, and that great men shall press / For tinctures, stains, relics and cognizance. / This by Calpurnia's dream is signified." (2.2.83-90) This interpretation of the dream leads Caesar to believe that Calpurnia was foolish for trying to keep him at home and decides to leave with Decius, going to the place of his death. On the same night before the Ides of March, a great storm is upon Rome. Casca believes that the gods are at war in the sky, and tells Cicero of what he believes he saw. Casca says that he saw a common slave who had his left hand on fire but the hand did not burn. He also sees a lion in the Capitol along, whom he walks by. Finally, Casca sees an owl during the day at the marketplace, all of which are bad omens to him. However, Cicero just says that Casca is interpreting the signs the way he wants to. After Cicero leaves, Cassius appears to talk to Casca. After Casca questions why Cassius tempts the heavens, Cassius responds: You are dull, Casca, and those sparks of life / That should be in a Roman you do want, / Or else you use not. You look pale, and gaze, / And put on fear, and cast yourself in wonder / To see the strange impatience of the heavens. / But if you would consider the true cause / Why all these fires, why all these gliding ghosts, / Why birds and beasts