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*Shakespeare *Elizabethan Drama *Julius Caesar


Title *Shakespeare *Elizabethan Drama *Julius Caesar Author: ashley.tate Last modified by: ashley.tate Created Date: 3/22/2010 7:39:29 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: *Shakespeare *Elizabethan Drama *Julius Caesar

Shakespeare Elizabethan Drama Julius Caesar
  • Shakespeare
  • and
  • His Times

  • When William Shakespeare was born, England was in
    the midst of its Renaissance.
  • Queen Elizabeth I was the ruling monarch.
  • It was a time of national strength and wealth,
    and the prevailing attitude was that life was
  • It was an age of exploration, not only of the
    world but also of human nature and the English

Some Ideas that characterized the English
Renaissance that are important to this play are
  • Humans had potential for development.
  • The Protestant Reformation that began in Germany,
    and Elizabeths fathers break with the Roman
    Catholic Church paved the way for rapid advances
    in art, science, and philosophy.

  • This was a time for heroes.
  • The ideal Elizabethan man was a talented
    courtier, adventurer, fencer, poet, and
    conversationalist. He was a witty and eloquent
    gentleman who examined his own nature and causes
    of his actions.
  • Despite the fact that the nation was ruled by a
    queen, women had a lower social status than men.

  • Elizabethans still maintained their belief that
    the reigning monarch was Gods agent, and to
    rebel against a reigning monarch was to rebel
    against God.
  • In England, there was a succession crisis- Queen
    Elizabeth was 66 years old, obviously nearing
    death and had no children.
  • The potential horrors of an unclear succession
    were still very fresh in the minds of the

  • Shakespeare was not able to comment directly on
    his countrys political situation, but through
    the theater he provided a sharp commentary that
    politically aware theatergoers would appreciate.
  • While Shakespeare had no way of predicting the
    future of English royalty, by sheer coincidence,
    1599 was the year Oliver Cromwell was born.
  • After the execution of Charles I in 1649,
    Cromwell would rule England as Lord Protector
    (essentially a military dictator), from 1653
    until his death in 1658.

  • 1599 was the year of Julius Caesars first
    performance and the completion of Shakespeares
    Globe Theater.
  • Caesar was a popular subject in Shakespeares
  • Many English writers saw numerous similarities
    between their own countrys current situation
    (Elizabeths lack of a heir, Englands
    establishment as a world power, the first
    attempts at colonization of the New World) and
    the political uncertainty faced by the first
    century BCE Romans.

Features of Shakespeares Use of Language
Blank Verse
  • Shakespeares essential pattern in his plays is
    BLANK VERSE (unrhymed iambic pentameter).
  • Iambic pentameter means that each line in the
    poetry is built on five iambs.
  • An iamb consists of an unstressed syllable
    followed by a stressed syllable, as in the word
  • Pentameter means that there five iambs in a line.
  • Therefore, whenever a reader notices a change in
    this pattern there is a reason for the change.
  • With the change, Shakespeare is creating a mood,
    establishing character, etc.
  • Shakespeares characters often speak in similes
    and metaphors- to expand ideas and amplify

The Tragic Hero
  • The tragic hero, according to Aristotle, was a
    man who rises to a high position and then falls
    from that high position-usually to utter
    desolation and/or death.
  • Two forces seem equally powerful in classical
    tragedy the tragic heros tragic flaw (or
    hamartia) and fate.
  • Some tragic heroes clearly bring about their own
    downfall, as in the case of Creon in Antigone,
    whose downfall is due to his hubris (excessive
    pride)- he believes his law holds precedence over
    the gods sense of Right.

  • Other tragic heroes seem to be more pawn of fate,
    like Oedipus who has done everything in his power
    to prevent the fatal prophesy from coming to pass
    that Oedipus would murder his father and marry
    his mother. It is the very act of trying to avoid
    destiny that the prophesy fulfilled.
  • By the Renaissance, however, people generally
    felt themselves to be less pawns of fate and more
    in control of their own destinies.
  • The Elizabethan tragic hero, therefore, is much
    more often responsible for his own downfall.

Julius Caesar
  • 503 BC Rome ends rule of Tarquins, a series of
    harsh, cruel rulers.
  • Rome decides never again to be under the rule of
    an oppressive government.
  • Refuse all forms of govt. that consists of kings
    emperors (rulers who achieve power based on

  • Rome sets up a Republic a govt. in which
    officials are elected
  • The new govt. was made of 2 parts
  • 2 Consuls (leaders) elected officials
  • Senate appointed by Consuls
  • Governing bodies could be made of people from any
    walk of life noble or common

  • Julius Caesar got into politics during a time in
    which the Consuls and the Senate were having
  • In this time of instability, he became an
    outspoken leader.

  • In 60 BC the first triumvirate (3-person
    governing body) was formed.
  • Consisted of Caesar, Pompey (a famous general),
    and a wealthy man named Crassus.

  • Crassus died.
  • Eager for more power and realizing that he could
    only achieve it with conquests and money, Caesar
    departed for what has been called the Gallic
  • His armies roamed Europe for 8 years.
  • Caesar amassed huge sums of money, which he sent
    back to Rome to gain favor with the people.

  • Pompey, jealous of Caesars growing power and
    favor with the people, threw his weight to the
    Senate, which was also weary of Caesars
  • Caesar refused the Senates order to give up his
    command and return to Rome.
  • Instead, Caesars army marched on Rome, took
    control, and chased Pompey all the way to Egypt.
    There, Pompey was murdered.

  • Caesar returned to Rome, was accepted by the
    people for his military abilities, was loved for
    all the goods he brought back from his conquests,
    and was elected Dictator for Life.
  • Caesar would now rule Rome until his death, and
    the next leader would have to be elected.

  • Many believed that Caesar wanted to be Emperor
    instead of just Dictator for Life.
  • If emperor, Caesars son would inherit the
    throne, instead of being elected.

  • Many feared that Caesar would bring back a style
    of life similar to when the Tarquins ruled.
  • To prevent this, some members of the legislature
    carried out a deceitful plan

Key Themes
  • Honor
  • Ambition
  • Envy
  • Power

Look for Rhetoric
  • The art or study of using language effectively
    and persuasively.
  • Make sure to look for persuasion and the use of
    language throughout the play (note the characters
    techniques to win public and political support).

  • So why did Shakespeare feel that Renaissance
    England would respond to Julius Caesar?

  • Shakespeare saw Caesar and Roman civilization not
    just as one that precedes the future, but as one
    that sets the pattern for future civilizations.
  • Shakespeare's England faced concerns of a country
    about to change leadership and centuries.

  • Cast of Major Characters

Julius Caesar
  • Ruler of the Roman Empire.
  • He is presented as a man of strong will and
    self-belief. He is used to issuing commands and
    being obeyed. He is stubborn and will not listen
    to pleas for mercy if he thinks he is in the
    right. He considers himself to be resolute and
  • Caesar denies he is afraid of Cassius and claims
    not to fear anyone or anything.
  • The conspirators believe Caesar is too ambitious
    and will soon acquire such power that Rome will
    be enslaved to one man.
  • Although Caesar is a commanding figure, he is
    physically weak, suffering from epilepsy as well
    as deafness in one ear.

Mark Antony
  • Mark Antony is Julius Caesars right-hand man and
    personal friend.
  • He enjoys sports and theater.
  • It is Antonys cunning speech to the masses after
    Caesars death that turns public opinion against
    the assassins, who gravely underestimated and
    misread him.
  • He shows fairness/nobility in victory.  

Marcus Brutus
  • Marcus Brutus is recruited for the assassination
    by Cassius.
  • He becomes part of the plot because he is
    concerned about the welfare of Rome.
  • He does not covet power for its own sake, and nor
    does he have any personal complaint about Caesar.
  •   He is presented throughout as a man of courtesy
    and honor, although perhaps also as a man who is
    unsuited to wield political power.
  • After he is dead, Antony salutes him as the
    noblest Roman of them all.

  • Cassius is the chief conspirator against Caesar.
  • It is he who recruits Brutus and the others.
    Cassius is consumed with envy of Caesar, and sees
    no reason why Caesar should hold power over him.
  • Cassius is a good observer of men and he has
    uncommon insight into peoples motivations.
  • Caesar observes that Cassius has a lean and
    hungry look.
  • He is in every way a contrast to the more
    sociable Antony.

  • Casca is one of the conspirators, and it is he
    who stabs Caesar first.
  • Casca is known for his wit and liveliness.
  • He is a man of action who can get things done.

  • Artemidorus is a teacher of rhetoric who tries
    but fails to warn Caesar of the plot against him.

  • A member of the consipiracy against Caesar.

Decius Brutus
  • Conspirator who uses flattery to get Caesar to
    the Senate House.

  • Caesars wife.
  • Calpurnia invests great authority in omens and

  • Brutuss wife the daughter of a noble Roman who
    took sides against Caesar.

  • A tribune (an official elected by the people to
    protect their rights).

  • A tribune-condemns the plebeians for their
    fickleness in cheering Caesar (they once cheered
    for Caesars enemy Pompey.

  • A Roman senator renowned for his oratorical
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