caesar character analysis

William Shakespeare’s tragic play, Julius Caesar, tells the true story of Julius Caesar’s assassination. After Caesar conquered Pompey, many of Caesar’s closest friends plot against him, because they believe his ambition and behavior is going to bring the fall of Rome. His traits of arrogance, weakness, and lovingness ultimately lead him to his defeat.

The trait of arrogance truly depicts the character of Caesar. “Such men as he be never at heart’s ease Whiles they behold a greater than themselves, and therefore are they very dangerous. I rather tell thee what is to be feared than what I fear for always I am Caesar (1.2.211-212).” Although it seems as if Caesar is afraid of Cassius, he tells Antony that he is only warning him of what is to be feared because Caesar is afraid of no one. Caesar proves his arrogance later when Calpurnia tries to convince him to say home and not go to the Capitol. “If he should stay at home today for fear. No, Caesar shall not. Danger knows full well That Caesar is more dangerous than he. (2.2.43-45)” He won’t let fear stop him, Caesar is never afraid, in fact he believes he is more powerful than danger. Lastly, before he is murdered, he banishes Publius from citizenship, and the commoners try to convince him not to.“ I could be well moved if I were as you. “If I could pray to move, prayers would move me. But I am constant as the Northern Star, of whose true fixed and resting quality there is no fellow in the firmament. The skies are painted with unnumbered sparks they are all fire, and every one doth shines. But there’s but one in all doth hold his place. So in the world: ‘this furnished well with men, and men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive. Yet in the number I do know but one that unassailable holds on his rank, Unshaked of motion and that I am. (3.1.58-70)” Caesar is claiming to be the steadiest man in the universe, so he cant be persuaded by other man. He compares himself to the northern star, as if to elevate him over the other men. He is trying to prove that he is the only man in Rome who is capable of being the ruler. Caesar proves not be ashamed of his pride and arrogance, he sees it as a quality, not a flaw.

On the flipside of Caesar, there is a trait of weakness seen. Cassius proves to Brutus Caesar’s weakness. “Caesar cried, “Help me Cassius or I sink!”…Did I the tired Caesar… He had a fever when he was in Spain, and when the fit was on him, I did mark how he did shake: ’tis true, this god did shake… Alas, it cried ‘Give me some drink, Titinius, ‘as a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me A man of such a feeble temper should so get the start of the majestic world. (1.2.113-132)”Cassius tells Brutus that physically, Caesar is unwell, and how can a man who can not take care of himself be the ruler of a nation. His physical weakness is seen again when he is speaking with Antony. “Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf, and tell me truly what thou think’st of him. (1.2. 213-214)” Caesar is deaf in one ear, and along with this Caesar also has epilepsy. “He fell down in the market-place, and foamed at mouth, and was speechless… ‘Tis very like: he hath the failing sickness. (1.2. 249-251)” Several times, Caesar is proven to be physically unstable which caused the conspirators to go forth with their plan.

Lastly, if the character of Caesar is truly analysed the trait of lovingness is shown numerous times. Caesar truly loved his wife, Calpurnia, and he always wanted the best for her. To touch Calpurnia for our elders say, The barren, touched in this holy chase, Shake off their sterile curse. ()”He had such a deep love for his wife, that he wanted her to have a child to bring her joy and happiness. He shows great kindness for his wife yet again when she is begging him to stay home. “Mark Antony shall say I am not well, And, for thy humour, I will stay at home. (2.2.55)” Although Caesar was not afraid of going to the Capitol, he was going to stay home just to keep his wife’s mind at ease. Caesar also showed copious amounts of kindness to his friends. While Caesar is being stabbed, he says a very famous quote, “Et tu, Brute! Then fall, Caesar. ()” He loved his friend so deeply that if Brutus wants him to die, he will die. When he saw one of his closest friends conspiring against him, he resigned himself to his fate. Caesar truly loved and cared for his friends up until the last moments of his life.

Arrogance, weakness, and lovingness were eventually the reasons Caesar was brought to his ultimate downfall. Caesar put up a wall of pride and self-importance, to try cover his physical weakness but in the end the trait he truly proved was love and kindness towards his friends and family.

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